It won’t be more than a “partial commitment” until his unofficial visit to the University of Oregon next weekend, but Etiwanda offensive tackle Jamal Prater issued something of a verbal pledge to the Ducks on June 26.
“Right now it’s sort of a partial thing,” said the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Prater. “I don’t want to commit to them blindly. I just want to get up there and see the campus and everything.”
The 16-year-old rising senior also has scholarship offers from Oregon State, Washington State, San Diego State and San Jose State. Prater is 61st rated tackle in the country by scout.com and the 74th-ranked player in California by rivals.com. The soft committment seems to be of mutual benefit to Prater and the Oregon coaching staff who has been expressing interest since Prater’s sophomore season.
“They want to avoid a guy giving a verbal (commitment) and not really loving the place,” Etiwanda coach Steve Bryce said. “He has commmitted to them but it’s a tentative commit because they want him to see the place to avoid him backing out.”
Prater played left tackle in an Etiwanda offense that averaged 378 yards and 32 points per game last season but will likely play guard at Oregon unless he hits another growth spurt (given his father is 6-foot-7, it is entirely possible).
“Schools in the Pac-10 look for the prototypical 6-7 type of tackle with the really long arms so they can engage those pass rushers off the end,” Bryce said. “Jamal is 6-4 and knocking on the door of 300 pounds, and it’s an athletic 300 pounds. He’s only 16 and his dad is 6-7 so he could still grow, which would turn him into a significant human being.”
Prater’s decision boiled down to Washington State, who on Feb. 17 issued his first offer, and Oregon, who offered him June 9.
“There’s something about Oregon, they don’t play any games, they’re just very straight forward,” Prater said. “If you’re with them, you’re with them.”