Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 2/1/12

A year after signing Colt Lyerla, a five-star athlete with superb skills who contributed five touchdowns as a true freshman, the Ducks dominated in-state recruiting this season by landing three impact players, one each for each level of the defense, Oshay Dunmore, a Parade All-American at safety, Alex Balducci, a tough, physical all-state defensive lineman, and Brett Bafaro, a hard-hitting linebacker from Liberty High School in Hillsboro, who's also a standout baseball player.

Bafaro's commitment is particularly crucial as the Ducks lost two linebackers to graduation in Dewitt Stuckey and Josh Kaddu and two more in the last weeks of recruiting, Bryce Cottrell to Texas, Jeremy Castro to UCLA. The Hillsboro product remains their last remaining linebacker in this class after signing several good ones last year.

Bafaro batted .571 in high school baseball as a junior. In just two football games in 2010, he rushed for 229 yards on 17 carries, caught six passes for 92 yards and scored five touchdowns.  In the season's first six games he had 369 rushing yards, averaging more than 10 yards per carry.  In one game against Putnam, he had 15 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and broke up two passes. For the season, he accumulated 80 tackles and five sacks.

On any given play in either sport, he has talent that explodes off the video.  Head coach Eric Mahlum told oregonlive.com's Jerry Ulmer, "He's kind of a manchild. "He's a big, physical kid, and he loves to hit. He's fast, and he's got good natural instincts. For us, he's kind of a game-changer. When we're on defense, the kids kind of rally around him and his passion."

Bafaro has shined in the summer evaluation camps, but Oregon's stiffest competition for the linebacker/fullback might be the 2012 major league baseball draft.  He can throw a pea from centerfield to home plate, but what a waste of football talent it would be.  Watch his football highlight video below.  His playing style is aptly summed up in one play: at 2:47 Bafaro is lead blocking on a sweep and absolutely levels the opposing linebacker, lifts him off his feet and presses his sternum into his back.  As his coach said, he's quick, physical and tenacious.


An interview earlier this year with oregonlive.com shows Bafaro to be a poised, directed young man. He's very emphatic that football appeals to him more than a baseball career, and he likes the aggressiveness and tenacity required on defense.

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