For Mario Cristobal, there is never anything anticlimactic about recruiting.
Oregon’s coach made that clear after putting the final touches on the 2019 recruiting class Wednesday.
Jamal Hill of Morrow, Ga., DJ James of Mobile, Ala., and Kristian Williams of Memphis, Tenn., added more of a southern flavor to the historic 26-man class best known for its #CaliFlock.
Logan Sagapolu, an offensive lineman from Lehi, Utah, is verbally committed to Oregon but expected to take a two-year Mormon Mission after signing a letter-of-intent.
Despite having three head coaches over the previous three seasons, Cristobal and his staff have stabilized the program and enhanced the roster with the Ducks’ historic haul.
Oregon’s class is ranked No. 7 by Rivals and 247Sports. This is the first time the program has landed the No. 1 class in the Pac-12 in the recruiting services era.
“It just so happens that their ranking, I’m talking about the services across the board, coincides with our feelings and our rankings as well,” Cristobal said. “So we’re happy about the way it was portrayed and whatnot.”
Hill is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety who had offers from Alabama and a list of other schools.
“When he came up with his family, it wasn’t the best weather,” Cristobal said of Hill’s winter visit to Eugene. “It was a rough one weather-wise. He was all about it. Not just the bells and whistles of the facility, but the people, the opportunity for development, the opportunity for playing time and the direction of the program. So it was great to get him on board.”
James is a 6-0, 170-pound cornerback who also held an offer from Alabama but decided to leave his home state for the West Coast.
“Awesome young man, just like Jamal,” Cristobal said. “Just very similar families in that they have full family support and endorsement to come out here to Oregon after visiting and after spending some time with us during that period.
“So those are two huge targets. We wanted a safety, we wanted a corner.”
Hill and James join a class that includes Trikweze Bridges, a 6-3, 175-pound safety from Lanett, Ala., who signed in December.
Cristobal, a former Nick Saban assistant with the Crimson Tide, was pleased his staff was able to lure these three prospects away from SEC country.
Williams, a who is listed at 6-3, 296 pounds, was originally committed to Minnesota before reconsidering his many options ahead of the February signing day.
“A guy that can change the game at the line of scrimmage,” Cristobal said of Williams, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 20 defensive tackle prospect. “Kristian caught our eye at the end of the first recruiting cycle and it was one of those, kind of like, ‘Why haven’t we been on this guy earlier?’”
Oregon landed 12 players from California during the early signing period. The class also includes recruits from Alabama (two), Florida (two), Hawaii (two), Tennessee (two), Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina and Washington.
“Oregon remains an extremely powerful national brand,” Cristobal said.
Sheldon High tight end Patrick Herbert is the only member of the class from Oregon.
“We mine and cultivate the West Coast and then when we go nationally, we cherry pick it,” Cristobal said. “We feel these are championship, Oregon football players, student-athletes, the right kind of guys.”
Cristobal credited assistants Donte Williams, Keith Heyward, Joe Salave’a and Bobby Williams for canvassing the southern part of the country and getting the three defensive players added Wednesday. Jim Leavitt will have a total of 14 newcomers to work with in 2019.
“Kristian had everybody in that part of the country coming after him and it made it tough, it made it very difficult for him to try to figure out exactly what he wanted to do, what he wanted to be,” Cristobal said. “But after spending time up here with Joe and some of our football players he just felt a really strong connection, saw opportunity and saw how people are genuine with him. And we’ve got a plan for him.”
Oregon’s class features Kayvon Thibodeaux, a five-star defensive end ranked as the No. 1 overall recruit by ESPN. Defensive linemen Brandon Dorlus, Sua’ava Poti and Keyon Ware-Hudson also signed in December.
The class also includes 12 offensive players and placekicker Camden Lewis.
Six members of the class have already enrolled at Oregon, including Thibodeaux and quarterback Cale Millen, and several more are expected to be on campus before spring practice begins on March 7.
“All in all just a tremendous day for us,” Cristobal said. “We had a chance to elevate the caliber of athlete that we have on our roster and we did so with guys that in this second recruiting cycle were at the top of our list.”