If there were any doubts before, consider them answered: Mario Cristobal has brought an elite recruiting touch back to Oregon.
The Ducks landed another major recruit over the weekend, the only four or five-star pledge to pick a school. Four-star offensive tackle Jonah Tauanu’u, from Narbonne High, chose the Ducks ahead of 18 other scholarship offers, including a major push from perennial powers Oklahoma, USC and other Power 5 programs including Florida.
“There were a lot of things I liked about Oregon,” Tauanu’u told 247Sports. “I love the coaching staff and no one recruited me harder than those guys. I have a lot of love of respect for coach Cristobal and having a former OL coach with his reputation as a head coach was big for me.
“I visited twice and loved both trips. I had a great feeling about the school when I was there for the Spring Game, it just felt like home for me. I think I can get developed as a player and a person and I’m really excited about my decision.”
It’s also worth wondering at this point whether Oregon might now, somehow, be recruiting Southern California just as well as their two conference rivals based there.
His decision gives Oregon a major lift on the offensive front line and further establishes the Ducks’ foothold in California; he’s the team’s 11th commit from the Golden State — out of 20 total — in the Class of 2019. The school’s five most highly-ranked recruits, including Tauanu’u, all hail from the state of California.
That’s a major factor, as Oregon will have to steal talent away from schools like USC if it hopes to be successful, while also pulling in more of the top talent from the Pacific Northwest after losing some of its foothold to Washington. It’s clear both those developments are unfolded under Cristobal’s guidance.
How is Oregon’s remarkable run in Southern California stacking up against the likes of USC and UCLA? USC has 12 total commits in the Class of 2019 … with eight of them hailing from California. Advantage? Oregon.
UCLA is even farther afield: seven total commits, just three of whom are from California.
As for Tauanu’u, the Polynesian Bowl commit is considered a top-60 overall prospect in the Class of 2019, not to mention being just outside the top-10 overall prospects in California and top-10 offensive linemen.