It's not every day that you see an athlete decommit from one university to attend another. Sure, it happens, but one month before they leave for school? That's certainly unusual.
Brodey Hasty was arguably the best high school recruit in the nation this past year. His dominance in the endurance events made him the most sought-after distance runner in the country with numerous offers coming his way. It wasn't too surprising to see someone of Hasty's talent originally commit to Oregon. The Ducks typically secure some of the best high school stars each and every year.
However, no one could have expected what unfolded in the early portions of June. The removal of coach Greg Metcalf from the Washington program opened the flood gates to a variety of changes around the country. Oregon's Andy Powell left Eugene to become the head coach for the Huskies which was subsequently followed by the Ducks hiring Virginia Tech coach Ben Thomas.
If I told you that those coaching changes would happen nine months ago in December, you probably wouldn't believe me. In fact, Hasty probably wouldn't believe me either. Yet, here we are...
It seems rather obvious that Andy Powell is a key reason why athletes have chosen to run for Oregon. New Adidas signee Sam Prakel recently announced that he will move to Seattle in order to continue training with Powell. Now, Hasty has decided to transition away from Eugene as well.
Yet, unlike Prakel, Hasty won't be going to Washington. Instead, he'll attend Northern Arizona. The rich just keep getting richer, huh?
The news, first broken by Tennessee Milesplit, was a ground-breaking report with huge future implications. Northern Arizona was already favored to win the national title in 2018. With the best recruit in the country now on their roster, they might have further solidified their chances of winning it all. Not only that, but they are now equipped for years of endless success. With underclassmen like Grijalva, Ferro, and Hasty training under Mike Smith, it's tough to think that the Lumberjacks will be losing meets anytime soon.
As for Oregon, the decommitment has to be heartbreaking, especially for new head coach Ben Thomas. Despite the grand success Thomas had at Virginia Tech, he never had the luxury of training a recruit at Hasty's level. Of course, Thomas still has a 1:47 half-miler in Josh Hoey entering his program. He will still have the opportunity to develop a high school national record holder.
Even though Hoey has a stacked resume, it was Hasty's cross country credentials that made him such a valuable recruit. The Ducks had incredible success on the track this past spring, putting four guys under 3:40 for 1500 meters. Their 2017 cross country season was strong, especially after a surprising 6th place finish at NCAA's. Still, they lacked a true low-stick and had some inconsistency in certain areas of their lineup. Having a superstar addition like Hasty would have made the Ducks a very real threat for the podium. When paired with guys like Teare and Brown, Hasty could have eventually led Oregon to a national title in two years time.
Oregon will still be competitive, but Hasty's departure has forced us to ask a question that no one in Eugene wants to answer: Could we see more Oregon athletes transfer out of the program?
For Josh Hoey, that seems unlikely. His brother Jaxson transferred from Penn State to Oregon last year and showed plenty of promise in the mid-distance events. Not only that, but Josh is very familiar with Coach Ben Thomas after taking an official visit to Virginia Tech last fall.
But what about Cooper Teare? Reed Brown? The younger guys on this roster? They committed to Oregon with the idea that they would be training under Powell. Will they now consider other options? Could we actually see some of these guys leave Oregon for Washington or another PAC 12 rival?
All of that may seem unlikely, but so did the idea of Hasty opting to run for NAU instead of Oregon one month before classes start...