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Oregon landed a verbal pledge from running back Royce Freeman on Friday, giving head coach Mark Helfrich and his staff their highest-profile recruit yet in the current cycle.

The 6-foot, 227-pounder from Imperial High School (Imperial, CA) is the Ducks' first running back commitment in the Class of 2014. He impressed the Ducks at the recent Nike event, The Opening, a few weeks ago, displaying his various skills in 7 on 7.

One of the best running backs in the country, Freeman is well-built with good speed and shiftiness. He is a powerful back more in the mold of a LeGarrette Blount than a LaMichael James. And if he does sign his Letter of Intent with the Ducks next February, he would be yet another top running back to head to Eugene, joining Lache Seastrunk, De'Anthony Thomas and Thomas Tyner.

Freeman also had offers from major programs such as Alabama, USC, Florida and Stanford. He is Oregon's eighth pledge in the 2014 class.