On Monday, Oregon had its introductory press conference for defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter and the new Ducks coach said what all of Eugene, Oregon already knew: Mario Cristobal takes recruiting immensely seriously.
"The critical thing in college football if you want to play at the elite level, you need elite level athletes," said DeRuyter. "Coach Cristobal is all about talent acquisition."
With Mario Cristobal as head coach, the Oregon Ducks have signed the Pac-12's top recruiting class three years running with the 2021 class rating as the most talented collection of talent in program history: 19 composite four-star players including arguably the nation's best tight end and wide receiver classes.
Now, coming off of back-to-back Pac-12 Championships on the field, it's clear the goals inside the Oregon football program go beyond winning a third straight conference title.
Kayvon Thibodeaux basically said as much after Oregon's win over USC in the 2020 Pac-12 Championship when he insinuated the result was the expectation, not the goal, at Oregon.
“If I want to be honest, it feels like we supposed to do this," said the Pac-12 Championship MVP. "I couldn’t even tell you that I was excited that we won or couldn’t tell you I didn’t expect it, it’s just when we come to play, we come to play. We left it all on the field.
Cristobal and the Ducks want to win a National Championship and in order to do so, the Ducks need to acquire elite-level talent, which they have been ever since promoting Cristobal to head coach.
After signing the best class in school history, Cristobal discussed how promoting a culture of competition at every spot increases his program's ceiling and how getting elite talent to enroll in Eugene is a collective group effort from the staff down to the players.
"Everyone in this program gets excited about recruiting," explained Cristobal. "Our players understand that. I tell them all the time when I was a player, Coach Jimmy Johnson and Coach Dennis Erickson used to find me all the time because I said 'Yes, I want to be around great players. I want to be around tough guys that work hard because I want to win a National Championship.'
"It's fun to know and see our team has a lot of guys like that who want to get involved, that want to be an extension of what we do from our recruiting effort and be great ambassadors of the program to help attract other great student-athletes who fit our program."
With the level of talent Mario Cristobal brings in year-in and year-out, the expectation within the Ducks program involves returning to the College Football Playoff sooner than later.