Courtney: What are the Ducks getting in Landon Hullaby?

The nation’s 18th-best safety is the fourth player to commit to Oregon’s 2022 recruiting class

Posted on February 20, 2021


  By Chris Courtney of WFOD for SportsPac12

During Mario Cristobal’s tenure as head coach at Oregon, there haven’t been too many out-of-the-blue surprises when it comes to recruiting announcements from prospects the Ducks have made an effort to target during a given recruiting cycle.

Saturday, however, served as an exception to that rule, as Cristobal and the Ducks landed a verbal commitment from Mansfield (Texas) Timberview four-star defensive back Landon Hullaby.

Ranked as the nation’s 18th-best safety per 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, Hullaby is the fourth player and first defensive back to verbally commit to Oregon’s 2022 recruiting class, joining fellow four-star prospects Emar’rion WinstonAndre Dollar, and Gracen Halton.

Hullaby also hails from the same high school that produced Ducks’ 2021 signee Terrell Tilmon, putting Oregon on track to sign players from Texas in back-to-back classes for the first time since 2013-14.

With nearly 30 offers to his name (28, to be exact), Hullaby chose the Ducks over offers from Texas, USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Auburn. His commitment gives Oregon the nation’s no. 15-ranked recruiting class for the 2022 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports’ Composite Team Rankings.

Below we take a closer look at Hullaby’s game, examining his weaknesses and strengths, as well as projecting how he may make an impact for the Ducks when he ultimately arrives on campus.


Notable weaknesses

• Not especially explosive: Hullaby excels in a number of areas as a defensive back, but his impact on the game appears to come more so as a result of his intellect than it does raw speed and athleticism. His lack of explosiveness could inhibit him some as he makes the leap to college, but is by no means an albatross that should prevent him from seeing action.

• Room for physical maturation: Listed at an even 6-feet and 185 pounds, Hullaby has the physical dimensions you want from a defensive back playing at the Power Five level, but there’s still room for growth. In particular, adding strength to his already solid frame should enable him to play with even more physicality as he transitions to college.


Notable strengths

• Savvy centerfielder: Hullaby possesses terrific football instincts. Though he’s capable of lining up just about anywhere in the secondary, he’s especially strong serving as a deep safety, where his ball skills and anticipation in coverage shines through the most.

DeRuyter

• Versatile defender: As mentioned, Hullaby’s ability to move from safety to nickel to corner makes him a valuable chess piece moving forward as Ducks first year defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter begins to put his imprint on the Oregon defense. Hullaby is very reminiscent of current Duck defensive back Verone McKinley III in this regard.

• Willingness to be physical: While he may not lay claim to the most imposing physical attributes, Hullaby plays with a willingness to be physical that should endear him to his coaches and teammates. He’s a fearless, hard-nosed tackler who should only improve in this area as his body develops.


Overall outlook

In recent years, the Oregon football program has had a slightly blunted presence in the state of Texas compared to the Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich eras, but the addition of Landon Hullaby keeps that once proud pipeline operational.

McKinley III

From our perspective, one of the biggest things the Ducks gain from the addition of Hullaby is his versatility and know-how operating at the second and third level of the defense.

The comparisons to Verone McKinley III are appropriate in our estimation, as both players play with a level of competence that provides a calming and organizing influence over a defense.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that both players hail from the Dallas metroplex, allowing them to cut their teeth against some of the best high school football competition in the country.

With Jordan Happle expected to be the only departure from the safety group following the upcoming 2021 season, the opportunity is there for Hullaby to earn some playing time serving as the understudy for McKinley, who is expected to be a redshirt junior in 2022.

He’ll face stiff competition from Daymon David, Steve Stephens, Bennett Williams and others, but given his well-rounded skills and presence on the field, it would be no surprise to see Hullaby carve out a much more significant role for himself in 2023.

This story also appears at wholeflockofducks.com and is syndicated with permission. Follow WFOD on Twitter @_WFOD and Chris Courtney @csquared02.




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