Oregon’s Mario Cristobal Plucks Another Recruit From Alabama
Oregon Ducks head football coach Mario Cristobal is a respected name in Tuscaloosa. From 2013-2016 he served as as the offensive line coach while also holding recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach roles.
Heading into his 5th year with the Ducks, Cristobal is turning his attention back to the Yellowhammer State. In March, he secured a commitment from Gordo High School standout quarterback Tanner Bailey. Monday, he doubled back, receiving a commitment from a 4-star linebacker from Montgomery Catholic Preparatory High School and Crimson Tide target TJ Dudley.
Cristobal's Ducks climb from No. 25 to 18 in the national recruiting class rankings for 2022 with Dudley's commitment according to 247Sports. Alabama currently sits at No. 15.
Cristobal is one of the best recruiters in the country, but even still, he's breaking recruiting trends in college football. It's far more common for west coast players to move east than the reverse, yet Cristobal is hauling in talent from SEC country, making his Oregon program one of the most respected in the nation.
In the words of his 2022 commits, it appears Cristobal's communication and involvement through the process is the difference in staying in the south or heading to Eugene.
"It was the communication. They kept talking to me every day. I spoke to them every day," Dudley told CBS Sports HQ after announcing his commitment. "As soon as I got off the plane, I was expecting an Uber to pick me up, but it was coach Cristobal and coach Ken Wilson right there. They were by my side the entire time."
"We talked more, coach Cristobal got involved, and they really made me feel like a priority," Bailey told Rivals in March. "Nobody recruited me the way they. Nobody made me feel the way Oregon did either, and that meant a lot."
Cristobal isn't done with his efforts in Alabama though. The Ducks are also targeting Auburn 3-star offensive tackle Eston Harris, Jr. He's not currently a Crimson Tide target, but there's little doubt Saban or the Crimson Tide fanbase would appreciate the forming of an imminent College Football Playoff expansion.
While missing on an in-state 4-star linebacker hurts, and many local fans would have liked to see Alabama give a closer look at Bailey, it's not the most painful blow Cristobal has landed Nick Saban's program.
On Friday, 5-star defensive lineman JT Tuimoloau canceled his official visit to Alabama, saying "It’s just a feeling I’ve had for a while now and after getting back from my official visit to Oregon, we decided not to take the trip to Alabama."
Cristobal's Ducks are one of the premiere programs in the PAC-12, but nationally the conference as a whole struggles to garner much respect. However, dealing blows to Saban while establishing a pipeline in the southeast could be just what the west coast need to secure that national respect its starving for.