Josh Pate took the Late Kick show on the road to Eugene, Oregon for the Ducks’ Week 8 game against UCLA.

Like everyone else in the sport, Pate’s attention shifted to the Ducks for what was a top-10 showdown with previously unbeaten UCLA. The Ducks won 45-30, an impressive and convincing win.

While he was in town, Pate got a tour of the Ducks’ facilities. He ran into fourth-year defensive back Tikweze Bridges during that tour.

A former blue-chip recruit, Bridges came to Oregon by way of Lanett, Alabama.

“You look at Alabama, you look at Georgia, you look at Auburn within driving distance of Lanett,” Pate said. “And then Oregon’s in the picture. And why is Oregon in the picture? Because kids who grew up in Lanett, Alabama, who are 18 or 19 years old, they know Oregon.”

Oregon can afford to recruit nationally, Pate says. He was asked how the Ducks’ atmosphere for the UCLA game — which was unbelievable — compared to SEC programs.

“I did specifically do a lot of radio hits in the South this week where I said it very much felt like an SEC atmosphere,” he said on Sunday.

Pate listed three boxes that need checking if you’re going to compete with one of the SEC programs. The first: investment from the fanbase.

“When we go some places, the task is to manufacture passion. And it’s such a chore,” he said “It’s so much easier if you’ve got a place like Oregon where you don’t have to worry about manufacturing passion. The people show up, the people are engaged, everyone knows their role, everyone does their job, and it doesn’t really matter if the team’s winning or not, they’re still in. When you don’t have to manufacture that, that’s Box 1 being checked.”

At Oregon? Yeah, check.

“After that, you’ve got to have investment,” Pate said. “All you need to know about that is Phil Knight.”

The literal check.


“Thirdly, it’s gotta be attractive because the lifeblood of this sport is recruiting,” Pate continued. “This, to me, is where outside of Southern Cal, Oregon is able to separate above and beyond anyone else on the West Coast. There is a brand attraction with that O that’s unique to anything else outside of Los Angeles on the West Coast.”

Oregon currently has the Pac-12’s top-ranked recruiting class for the 2023 cycle. In that class is a 5-star quarterback from Michigan, a 5-star receiver from California, a 4-star receiver from Texas, a 4-star defensive back from Arizona, and a 4-star running back from Mississippi.

Oregon had the top-ranked high school class in the Pac-12 last cycle, too. And in the 2021 cycle, and in the 2020 cycle, and in the 2019 cycle.

“What attracts a kid, they’ve got in abundance in Eugene, Oregon,” Pate said. “Very much felt like an SEC program, a venue, a gameday experience, etc. I went up there for the first time, it will not be the last time.”