The 10 best Oregon recruiting wins under Mario Cristobal
Under Mario Cristobal, the Oregon Ducks have had unprecedented success on the recruiting trail. Before Cristobal, the Ducks had varying success recruiting with former offensive coordinator Scott Frost saying it was hard to get kids to go to Eugene.
Cristobal, in just three seasons as head coach, has not only proven that fact wrong, he makes it look easy. Oregon has taken in the Pac-12's best class two years running with potential for the 2021 class to be the best one yet, despite operating in a pandemic.
Now, in honor of the latest Talkin' Ducks Podcast that goes into how Cristobal has found this success, let's break down the top ten best recruits signed by Mario Cristobal in his tenure at Oregon.
Note: No 2021 verbal commits are included as in theory they can flip and are not signed yet and this isn't ranked.
2018: Travis Dye
Despite being a three-star recruit, Dye has found success early and often in his Oregon career where he saw significant playing time as a true freshman when he and redshirt freshman CJ Verdell took over carrying duties from senior Tony Brooks James.
He finished his freshman campaign with 739 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Then as a sophomore, he ran for 658 yards.
Dye acts as a nice change of pace back from Verdell and the two will punish opposing defenses on the ground once again in 2020.
2018: Penei Sewell
The best player on the Oregon Ducks was the crown jewel of Mario Cristobal's first recruiting class.
Sewell stepped right in to start at left tackle as a true freshman and now is seen as a generational tackle prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft having allowed just one sack over 1,376 snaps the last two seasons.
His sophomore season was so dominant that he won the Outland Trophy as a sophomore, had the highest graded offensive tackle season in PFF history and he even had a Heisman vote.
He'll look to win back-to-back Outland Trophies this season.
2018: Jevon Holland
Sewell might not be the only Duck taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Safety Jevon Holland has gotten buzz to be a highly drafted player next April and it's easy to see why.
Pro Football Focus rated him as the best slot corner in the nation for the 2019 season but that wasn't the only position he made an impact. He also wreaked havoc as safety and punt returner.
In just two seasons as an Oregon starter, he has nine interceptions, 19 passes defended, and one touchdown.
2019: Kayvon Thibodeaux
Kayvon Thibodeaux may be the most important recruit in Oregon history.
Not only is he the highest-rated recruit in program history, but his decision to enroll in Eugene cemented the Ducks as a recruiting national powerhouse.
He can also dominate on the football field. As a freshman, he had nine sacks, including a nation-leading seven sacks in the fourth quarter, 14 tackles for loss and a blocked punt.
And he's just getting started.
2019: Mykael Wright
The Ducks are returning the nation's best secondary in 2020 with seniors Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir, and Brady Breeze, but the team's best cornerback according to Pro Football Focus is sophomore Mykeal Wright.
An All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a freshman had quite a breakout season where he had one interception, five passes defended (including a game-clinching pass defended against Washington) and two return touchdowns.
Expect defensive coordinator Andy Avalos to get Wright on the field as much as possible next season.
2019: Mase Funa
At the time of his commitment, Funa was the highest-rated linebacker commitment in program history.
As a freshman, he totaled 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss but expect those numbers to increase next season with an expanded role. With Troy Dye gone, Funa will be expected to lead the linebackers along with Isaac Slade-Matautia.
2019: Mycah Pittman
The 2018 Ducks led the entire nation in dropped passes and they looked to remedy that with signing four-star wide receiver Mycah Pittman in 2019.
Leading up to his freshman season, Pittman was seen as the standout performer during spring and training camp but a collarbone injury sidelined him to begin the season. Then a broken arm caused him to miss the ending of the regular season, but he would return for the Rose Bowl.
He finished his freshman season with 227 yards and two touchdowns.
2020: Justin Flowe
In the 2020 recruiting class, the Ducks got the top-rated player in California for the second consecutive season with five-star linebacker Justin Flowe, who himself became the highest-rated linebacker commitment in program history.
Recruiting experts rated Flowe as one of the best linebacker prospects in years and looking to be a sure-fire highly drafted NFL prospect in three seasons. Until then, he'll be doing some damage in Eugene at Autzen Stadium.
2020: Noah Sewell
Flowe wasn't the only five-star linebacker in the 2020 class.
Noah Sewell, the brother of Penei Sewell, signed with the Ducks to join the flock and his big brother in Eugene.
With him, Flowe and Funa, the Ducks will have one of the best linebacker units in the country over the next few seasons.
2020: Dontae Manning
Then, the Ducks weren't don't yet.
Five-star cornerback Dontae Manning signed with the Ducks in the early signing period but didn't announce until the Under Armour All-American Game.
When Lenior and Graham graduate after the 2020 season, Manning's expected to step into a starting role alongside Mykael Wright.