Mario Cristobal expects about half of Oregon’s recruiting class to arrive on campus in time to participate in at least some spring practices.
Two days after announcing a 22-player recruiting class in the early signing period, Cristobal said 11 or 12 players are expected to enroll for winter or spring term.
“I think we will have five or six in January and another four or five in April,” he said. “So some will be here for the entire offseason and some will get here around the fifth or sixth practice of spring, but that is still extremely beneficial. They get to go through part of spring ball and they are going to be a bit behind, but they can catch up quickly and then dive right into the second phase of the offseason program and that is invaluable.”
Cristobal said he was originally hoping to get at least eight recruits to arrive early.
“If you have four on each side of the ball, you have a chance to make a significant impact,” he said. “We have got 11 and maybe 12 and who knows with the second signing period we might have some more.”
The regular signing period begins on Feb. 6 and Cristobal said the Ducks are looking to add their class that was ranked No. 5 in the nation by ESPN.
“There are some real good football players out there and we still want to load up,” he said. “You always want more guys at the big-guy positions like defensive line and you want more guys who can cover. Anybody who is a great player and a great person who can help this program, we are going to pursue.”
Cristobal said he has seen the advantages for players who graduate early from high school.
“The acclimation of going to college, the academic side coupled with the opportunity to get up early in the morning and work out and go to practice and get used to college life without the rigors of the season where you are traveling for games, that is a tremendous benefit,” he said. “That said, the way we do summers now in college, it is almost like having an entire spring practice in the way guys work themselves. There is no other learning tool like repetition and that is what you get while you are here. It is an incredible advantage. We’d like to have our entire class here during that time, but I am happy with where we are at.”
Cristobal added that parents have become more eager to give their kids a head start in college.
“If you go an extra two quarters or a semester academically, what a benefit,” he said. “Those guys can now truly graduate in three or three and one-half years. Then if some of those NFL opportunities come up, they have a much more settled mind. They have a diploma in hand and can assess their NFL stock and see where they are at and make a clear-headed decision. And the decision to come back and get a Master’s or graduate studies is such a huge plus and benefit in today’s job market.”