The Oregon Ducks and Mario Cristobal signed what will likely be the best class in program history Wednesday morning during the beginning of the early signing period.
15 composite four-star recruits signed Wednesday including a handful with five-star evaluations from certain outlets. Five three-stars joined them and four-star linebacker Jonathan Flowe, who committed Tuesday, has not signed yet.
So much credit goes to the coaching staff at Oregon who recruits relentlessly and wouldn't allow the cancellation of the spring game and all official visits to affect the results on Early Signing Day.
"Our spring game is our recruiting thing like that's the event we have to [put on]," stressed Cristobal Wednesday. "We thought 'How are we going to overcome that?'"
His staff overcame that test with passing colors earning the nation's No. 6 signing class.
But the recruits themselves deserve some love, too. Especially four-stars Keith Brown and Jackson Light who helped persuade many future-signees to choose Oregon.
"[The class] built an unbelievable relationship and it was... fostered by Jackson Light and by Keith Brown," said Cristobal. "Those two guys, they got together and they really started generating these unbelievable friendships and ties and bonds."
"I almost feel like I should let them pick their jerseys first because of how well they did in recruiting the rest of the class."
The two prospects were among the earliest commits in the 2021 class making their final decisions in October and November of 2019. Since then, both players have been instrumental in making other players feel comfortable coming to Eugene, OR.
"That's important because high-achievers want to be around high-achievers and that's what these guys are and represent," added the Ducks head coach.
Light even attended some of his future teammates' playoff high school games watching Ty Thompson, Bram Walden and Brandon Buckner play.
However, it was Lebanon native and the state of Oregon's No. 1 prospect who really sold other prospects on making Oregon their home.
"Keith is like Mr. Oregon," explained Cristobal. "The fact that he is so into his hometown, his home state, it's awesome."
"Remember, if you look at our locker room and you read the whereabouts, the origins from all of the guys who have come in, they're from all over... To really introduce them to our state, the culture, the outdoors it's a great thing."
Cristobal also sees it as a priority to ensure elite, local talent stay in-state.
"Let's take a look at the Rose Bowl and whose your two MVPs? In-state guys," Cristobal said. "So is it important? It's critically important. It means a ton to those guys. To be able to have the best player in the state join our family? For us it's an honor. We don't take that for granted.
"We always want to make the state of Oregon a priority in recruiting."
Brown has even convinced Coach to let him show him around the state.
"I mean I plan when the pandemic clears to go white water rafting with him and fishing with him," Cristobal said. "I mean he knows the state inside and out.... The pictures he sends us, it's like man? Part-time tour guide."
For Mario Cristobal and the Ducks, with the letters of intent signed, it's only a matter of time before the prospects are on-campus as part of the program.
"I cannot wait to see these guys on campus but it can wait because we certainly have business at hand that we need to take care of," Cristobal said.
That business at hand? Winning back-to-back Pac-12 Championships.
The Ducks get that opportunity this Friday, December 18, against USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game at 5:00 p.m. PT.