Updated: Apr 8
Recruit rankings data has been manually collected by TSR contributors from multiple, reliable sources. Transfers and foreign recruits who are not expected to have four years of eligibility are excluded from these rankings. Order of rankings was decided by all TSR contributors.
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The Oregon Ducks have started a trend of bringing in small recruiting classes with big talent. Last year, the men’s recruits were largely composed of Josh Hoey and Brodey Hasty - neither of which ultimately ended up at Oregon. After unexpected turnover with their coaches and certain members of the Oregon roster, Hasty ended up decommitting in favor of Northern Arizona while Hoey opted to sign a professional contract with Adidas. This year, the Ducks again only have two elite-level men's distance recruits who will look to lay the foundation for a young, exciting core.
While the incoming class may be small, they each bring wildly strong credentials with them. Let's begin the conversation with Cole Hocker of Indianapolis, Indiana. Hocker is one of the best (if not the best) cross country runners in the nation. This fall, Hocker won the Indiana state title and finished runner-up to Liam Anderson at the Nike Cross National Championships. That race would turn out to be his only loss of the season as he then went on to win the Foot Locker National Championships shortly after. He posted a season best mark of 15:00 (twice) during his senior year of cross country and could be a huge contributor in Oregon's varsity seven this fall.
The Ducks have been somewhat underwhelming in the past few seasons of cross country. Since the departure of Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins, the team has lacked a superstar to build around. Blake Haney and Cooper Teare have both been solid runners, but they haven't necessarily vaulted to the level of cross country success that was expected of them coming out of high school (although their accomplishments on the track are a different story).
The Ducks only managed a 15th place finish at last year's NCAA XC National Championships and had a total of zero All-Americans on the men’s side. With his level of talent, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Hocker could be an All-American on the grass this fall if he can replicate (and build upon) his high school success.
Hocker isn’t just a stud during the fall - he also has made a name for himself on the track. He owns personal bests of 1:50, 4:07 and 8:56 (800/1600/3200) which is a display of speed that you rarely see from distance-oriented standouts. His 2019 outdoor campaign was somewhat uneventful, but he did come away with state titles in both the 800 and 1600 earlier this year.
Based on his personal bests and his history of winning, Hocker looks to be the perfect fit for an Oregon program searching for its next big star.
Not to be overshadowed by his recruit counterpart, Luis Peralta is a middle-distance athlete who has been dominating the high school scene for the past couple of seasons. The Passaic High School (New Jersey) product was the 2018 New Balance Outdoor National Champion and had runner-up finishes both indoors and outdoors at the New Balance meets over 800 meters this season.
He owns a personal best of 1:49.10 in the event which he set in 2018. This season, he posted a mark of 1:51.09 and also ran 3:54 for 1500 (approximately 4:12 mile pace). Peralta could find himself as the next big middle-distance star who will likely fill a massive gap at the 800 meter distance for Oregon. Last year, the fastest Duck was Charlie Hunter who ran 1:49.42. The Ducks have not had a true star in the half-mile since Elijah Greer ran 1:46 back in 2013…can Peralta be the next big name?
While he is certainly at his best on the oval, Peralta has shown talent on the cross country course as well. He consistently ran near the 16 minute mark this fall and owns a personal best of 15:38 for 500 meters (XC). Although these times will not put him amongst the NCAA's best, it does show that he's durable, consistent, and capable of moving up in distance.
The Ducks will be banking on Hocker and Peralta to come up big for the team in 2019-2020. While Peralta will likely be more of a factor come indoors, Hocker will have a substantial opportunity to significantly impact the team during the cross country season. If he does, Oregon could very easily find themselves bettering their 15th place finish from the 2018 XC national meet.
Don’t expect these two Ducks to fly under the radar for long...