Justin Herbert made history Saturday evening, just as he has during the entirety of his record-breaking rookie campaign.
On the eve of Super Bowl LV, Justin Herbert won the Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
He is the first Oregon Duck alumnus to win the award, but he will not be the last.
Under Mario Cristobal, the Oregon Ducks have been recruiting at an unprecedented level with a bar that seemingly just gets higher and higher. Three consecutive best-recruiting classes in the Pac-12. The 2021 group, in particular, is ranked sixth nationally and includes arguably the best haul of offensive talent nationwide: a five-star quarterback, three four-star wide receivers, a five-star tackle, numerous four-star linemen, two of the top-ten tight-ends nationally, the best running back in the West region, and more.
In the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, Penei Sewell has been viewed as a generation offensive tackle prospect after winning the Outland Trophy as a true sophomore. It's unlikely he will win Offensive Rookie of the Year due to the lack of accolades given to offensive linemen, but that's the level of talent the Ducks are outputting to the NFL, nowadays.
In addition to Sewell, Jevon Holland could arguably be the best safety in the upcoming draft with the only concerns being his size from most scouts, and Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodre Lenoir are both locks to hear their name called. Brady Breeze, Jordon Scott, Nick Pickett, and Austin Faoliu as well may be drafted or signed as free agents with chances to make the 53-man roster during training camp.
While those Ducks chase their NFL dreams, the Oregon-to-NFL pipeline will only grow stronger.
Kayvon Thibodeaux has been viewed as a contender to be taken first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft ever since his high school days when he was the top high school prospect in the nation. Edge rushers with comparable recruiting profiles included South Carolina superstar Jadeveon Clowney who went first overall to Houston as soon as he was draft eligible.
Chase Young, who was taken second overall last draft, just won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Why can't Thibodeaux do the same thing once he steps onto the NFL field? He has the work ethic, the raw talent, the elite speed, and the physical attributes to do so.
Mykael Wright, who will also be draft-eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft, also projects as an early-round pick who can play right away at the next level.
Also, do not sleep on the pair of five-star linebackers from the 2020 recruiting class, Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe.
Sewell won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and appears like a top pro prospect in his respective draft class whenever he declares. Flowe, who only played in one game due to a torn meniscus as a true freshman, was considered the best high school linebacker prospect since Rueben Foster, who was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
With the level of talent Cristobal's bringing to Eugene, it's a matter of when, not if, another Man of Oregon becomes the Rookie of the Year, again.