Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal is one game shy of completing his first season at the Ducks’ helm. Yet, no matter the result of the Bowl game on Dec. 31, he has already made Oregon history.
On Wednesday, Oregon signed its highest-ranked recruiting class in program history with 23 players signing national letters of intent. The recruiting class is ranked No. 5 in the nation and the highest in the Pac-12.
“It’s an awesome day to be a Duck,” head coach Mario Cristobal said. “It’s everything we want to and need to get used to. We need to continue that heart of rebuilding a successful program, which is talent acquisition, which is evaluating, recruiting and signing the top prospects in the country.”
The Ducks’ excitement began Saturday when the nation's top recruit, Kayvon Thibodeaux, committed to Oregon, becoming the highest-ranked recruit in school history. Thibodeaux, who signed with the team at noon on Wednesday, is the first five-star recruit for the Ducks since they singed Canton Kaumatule in 2015.
“KT,” as Cristobal refers to him, was a finalist for the All-USA Defensive Player of the Year and the Bobby Dodd National Lineman of the Year. He is ranked the No. 1 player out of California and the No. 2 player in the nation by 247Sports.com.
“We felt that when he was here there was a strong connection and definitely something felt really right,” Cristobal said. “When a guy like that announces for your program, I just think it creates that much more of an awareness of a national brand. It’s where Oregon should be, year in and year-round. It finally happened from a football recruiting standpoint.”
Oregon’s 22 other recruits have just as impressive résumés coming into the program, including 13 four-star recruits. Notables on that list are Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Mykael Wright and Patrick Herbert.
Aumavae-Laulu comes to Oregon after playing two seasons at Navarro College in Texas and being named the No. 1 junior-college offensive lineman in the nation. He is the biggest player of the 2019 class so far, weighing in at 389 pounds with a height of 6-foot-6.
Wright ranks as the nation's No. 1 cornerback and as the No. 19 overall recruit by ESPN. He was rated the No. 2 overall player in the state of California by ESPN, following Thibodeaux.
So far, Oregon has signed one true Oregonian in Eugene-native Patrick Herbert, the younger brother of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Patrick, a tight end, is ranked as the No. 1 player in the state of Oregon by 247Sports.com. He helped Sheldon High School to a Southwest Conference championship and a second-place finish in the state tournament this past fall as a senior. He is ranked the No. 12 tight end in the nation by ESPN.
Oregon’s top three-star recruits include Dru Mathis (from Moorpark College), Brandon Dorlus (from Deerfield Beach, Florida) and Cale Millen (from Snoqualmie, Washinton)
“We’ve logged multiple, multiple, multiple hours on all these guys and we feel like we got the right guys, we really do,” Cristobal said. “We feel strongly about it. It’s a great start. We achieved a goal, and we want to keep elevating that goal.”
Cristobal said over 10 of these players will arrive on campus in just a couple of weeks for the start of winter term, while others will arrive prior to the beginning of spring term in April.
The 23-player lineup is the start of Cristobal’s first recruiting class after becoming head coach last winter. Oregon will continue recruiting until the National Signing Day in February.
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