Among Oregon's highly touted 2010 recruiting class, which included the likes of Lache Seastrunk, Dior Mathis, Curtis White and Ricky Heimuli, there was one name that left people wondering how he fit in to the Ducks future. After a redshirt year and some fine tuning, Hroniss Grasu may be the most important player from the class.
Grasu came to Oregon with only three years of football experience under his belt. Most people had him pegged as a defensive lineman due to his versatility and the Ducks' need for bodies on the defensive front. For those in the know, Grasu was the perfect fit on the offensive side of the ball in Eugene.
Jeremiah Ross, who played offensive line at Fresno State and coached Bennett, Grasu and Oregon WR Blake Stanton at Crespi, likely received raised eyebrows when he predicted Grasu would be the best player in Oregon's 2010 recruiting class.
The only raised eyebrows now are directed at the redshirt sophomore center for the Ducks. With just one year of experience under his belt at the college level, Grasu was named to the Rimington Award Watch List this week.
Ross had high praise for Grasu when the rising star committed to the Ducks in the summer of 2009.
"He is such a smart player and a great athlete for his size. He can dunk a basketball at 6-foot-3, 255-pounds (Grasu is now up to 285) and he moves so well on the football field. Oregon's offensive system is the perfect fit for him," Ross said. He has an unlimited future in the game of football. He doesn't know how good he can become. Hroniss has the potential to be the best offensive lineman I've ever been around. I'm telling you, he's going to be the best player in that entire class."
After a freshman campaign that saw Grasu start every game at center, the Ducks anchor is starting to make Ross appear like the smartest guy in the room.
With three years of eligibility left, Grasu seems primed to be the Ducks next great center.
Max Unger played an important role in the Ducks offensive prowess from 2005-2008 with multiple first-team All-Pac-10 awards (2007, 2008) and was a finalist for the 2008 Rimington Award. Unger went on to become the Seattle Seahawks 2nd round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Grasu may be better in the end.
Grasu has the potential to see his future play out in a similar manner if he continues to progress. With another three seasons of Grasu manning the snap, the Ducks offense will be in good hands at the beginning of every play.