Christmas came 10 days early for the Oregon football program and its fans.
ESPN’s No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, committed to the Ducks Saturday during halftime of the New Mexico Bowl. He is officially the highest-ranked recruit in Oregon football history.
"I will be taking my talents to the University of Oregon," Thibodeaux said surrounded by his family.
The ESPN300 No. 1 recruit in the nation is headed to play for the Oregon Ducks! pic.twitter.com/PTVY8EfZEo— ESPN (@espn) December 15, 2018
The 18-year-old picked Oregon over at least 26 other schools that threw their hats in the ring.
Oregon currently ranks as the No. 6 recruiting class on ESPN and could see a healthy jump with Thibodeaux's commitment.
Much love to all the coaches that has recruited me! It has been fun👌🏽— kayvon thibodeaux (@kayvonT8) December 15, 2018
Thibodeaux’s visit was the Washington weekend (10/13/18) and managed to be quite possibly the most emotionally-thrilling victory by the Ducks since their Rose Bowl victory in 2015. Oregon won on a walk-off touchdown in overtime.
The other three teams that had Thibodeaux for a visit were Alabama (9/22/18), Florida State (9/3/2018) and Florida (10/6/18). They also made up the teams in his final decision.
“I have finally decided where I wanna go. I wanna thank everyone apart of my journey. You may not like my decision but you gotta respect it. Time to level up!” Thibodeaux tweeted on Friday night.
He went on to tweet: “Believe it or not I didn’t know where I was going until right now at this moment.”
On Dec. 13, USA Today released a video in which Thibodeaux spoke about his final four teams and said this about Oregon:
“For Oregon, the weather played a big part for me. It is rainy out there, and I’m not really a rainy guy, being from Southern California. But I felt there was something in my heart, that I could deal with it. Coach [Mario] Cristobal, he’s a great guy, and coach Joe Salave’a he’s a great d-line coach, you know he’s one of the best d-line coaches I’ve seen, and personally, he’s a great guy. It’s great people, and a great atmosphere.”
B O O M!!! pic.twitter.com/uhi4aCXxNi— Mario Cristobal (@coach_cristobal) December 15, 2018
The Oaks Christian High School senior from Westlake Village, California, is listed at 6'5, 234 pounds. Thibodeaux will slide right into the Oregon pass rush that will lose two leaders in Justin Hollins and Jalen Jelks to graduation.
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack