The Oregon Ducks signed the best class in program history this past cycle and it's already paying off on the practice field during spring football.
The Ducks hosted fans in Autzen Stadium to watch the first live scrimmage of spring football Saturday and two players stuck out for already looking college football-ready: four-star freshmen Moliki Motovao and Terrance Ferguson.
In fact, after the event, the Ducks head coach said the two can help the program win football games this fall.
"Without a doubt," responded Mario Cristobal when asked if the pair of tight ends can contribute during the season.
"They knew that when they were being recruited and I'm glad they're seeing it now."
Last season, the Ducks had a mini-tight end crisis with the position group ravaged by injuries to the point walk-on freshman Cooper Shultz saw playing time. Then, starting tight end Hunter Kampmoyer decided to not return, leaving a starting spot up for grabs.
Fast forward to April 2021, Oregon has signed the nation's No. 5 and No. 10 tight ends in Motovao and Ferguson to help fill that area of need.
Both players decided to enroll early to participate in spring football and being a college football strength program has given them the good "freshman 15."
"They've both gained in the area of 10-15 pounds of muscle so they're stronger. They're faster. They're more physical," said Cristobal.
It's showing on the field, too. Anyone in attendance could see the two flashed real P5 football size and speed.
"They're getting reps with just about every group and they're really sharp so you're looking at a couple of freshmen who have grasped the playbook, that are out there performing and the moments weren't too big."
Playing in front of fans Saturday evening in their first spring practice, both showed why they were so highly rated nationally.
"Caught the ball in traffic, got out in the open field, lower their shoulder and were physical," recited Cristobal. "Both with the ball in their hands and when they have to block."
That last tidbit will be the place where both players need to grow the most to see time on the field. Mario Cristobal will not put up with subpar blocking.
"Blocking for those guys is always going to be the hard component [for] how they mature as a tight end," he explained. "Always has been."
Still, both players have flashed enough talent during spring football to give Ducks fans a reason to be excited about their tenures as men of Oregon, joining the program's head coach.
"Big future for both those guys," Cristobal concluded.