Cristobal Announces 2018 Football Recruiting Class

Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal wrapped up his inaugural class of recruits with nine athletes signing a letter of intent to close out the 2018 recruiting cycle.

Combined with the 15 student athletes who took advantage of the first ever early signing period to ink their letters of intent in December, the 2018 Oregon recruiting class numbers 24 strong and addresses the priorities Cristobal has established for the program.

Ranked 15th by one recruiting service and 16th by another, the 2018 new Ducks include a long snapper, a tight end, a pair of running backs, six defensive backs, four offensive linemen, three wide receivers, three linebackers, two defensive linemen and a quarterback.

One consequence of the new early signing period coupled with the regime change after Willie Taggart departed for Florida State and Cristobal was named the Ducks’ head coach was a more fractured recruiting cycle than in the past when all athletes were signed in early February. The process was further complicated by Oregon’s early bowl game which necessitated the Ducks cancel what had been planned as their primary weekend for campus visits by prospects.

“It’s going to be trial and error for a couple years,” Cristobal said of the new routine. “It’s hard to say the pluses and minuses until we go through a couple of cycles. As much as some people want to complain about the old cycle, it did stand the test of time. We knew the warts that came with it, we knew the pluses that came with it so we dealt with it.

“Now, we’re dealing with a whole new aspect that we just have to continue to learn more about.”

Crediting the support staff and his assistant coaches, Cristobal allowed the timing may not have been ideal but proclaimed himself satisfied with the results.

“We probably fell a little bit short at the wide receiver position in terms of numbers,” said Cristobal. “We wanted another one or two but we were able to get three and tight end Spencer Webb, who played a lot of wide receiver all year long. So you’ve got four guys that can make a difference in the passing game. That was of utmost importance.”

Midway though his press conference Cristobal was informed of a late addition, offensive lineman Penei Sewell, who Cristobal termed “a difference maker” at 6′ 5″ and 349 pounds.

“You’re going to hear me say it a million times, line of scrimmage, line of scrimmage, line of scrimmage,” Cristobal said. “The amount of size and power that we added to the offensive line was critical. I think we have a great offensive line right now. These guys will complement it right away and will push us to get better and for playing time and to be contributors.”

Cristobal indicated it was possible that one of the signees may enroll early and that  D.J. Johnson – a TE/LB transfer from Miami would likely have to redshirt the coming coming season though the NCAA has been petitioned to allow the Sacramento native to play immediately.

Courtesy of Oregon Athletics Communications office, here is a complete list of the 2018 recruiting class:

FEB. 7 SIGNING DAY
Kahlef Hailassie, CB, 6-2, 185, Elk Grove, Calif. (Cosumnes Oaks HS)

Consensus three-star by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports …Tabbed the No. 81 cornerback in the class by ESPN … Top 100 cornerback by the 247Sports composite rating … Participated in Nike’s The Opening Regional in Oakland … Totaled 1,262 all-purpose yards over 18 games his two seasons at Cosumnes Oaks HS  … Averaged 23.8 yards per catch as a wide receiver in 2017 … Scored a touchdown three different ways as a junior in 2016 … Totaled 10 TDs with seven through the air, two on punt returns and another on a scoop-and-score … Had 31 receptions for 614 yards with 64 tackles and one interceptions on defense … Also received offers from Colorado, FAU, Fresno State, Hawaii, Howard, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State, UNLV, UTEP, Washington State, Wyoming and Utah State.

Penei Sewell, OL, 6-5, 349, Fr., Saint George, Utah (Desert Hills HS)
Consensus four-star and No. 1 prospect in the state of Utah by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … Tabbed the No. 53 overall prospect and No. 2 offensive guard by 247Sports … Rivals ranked him the No. 60 overall player in the 2018 class and the No. 5 offensive tackle … Landed in the ESPN300 at No. 129 and the No. 6 offensive guard … Finished with a 247Sports Composite rating of No. 57 in the class and No. 2 offensive guard … Played in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the 2018 Polynesian Bowl … Advanced to the final roster for Nike’s The Opening … Earned first-team all-league and all-state honors his senior year … Helped Desert Hills record nearly 4,000 yards of total offense, including 2,551 rushing yards, in 2017 … Brothers Gabriel and Nephi Sewell both play on the Nevada football team … Also received offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, BYU, California, Florida, Hawaii, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Southern Utah, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Utah, Utah State, Washington and Washington State.

J.J. Tucker, WR, 6-2, 168, Fr., Harbor City, Calif. (Narbonne HS)
Ranked 189th in the nation at wide receiver and 142nd overall in California … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Selected second-team CIF All-Los Angeles City Section Open Division as a senior … Racked up 611 receiving yards on 27 receptions with eight touchdowns … Helped lead Narbonne to a CIF-Los Angeles City Section Open Division Championship … Caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the title game and finished with 78 receiving yards … Participated in the Los Angeles Regional of Nike’s The Opening in March of 2017 … Caught two touchdown passes and finished with 119 receiving yards in five games as a junior … Also received offers from Hawaii, Tulane and Utah.

Andrew Johnson Jr., OLB, 6-2, 228, Fr., Tifton, Ga. (Tift County HS)
Ranked 37th in the nation among outside linebackers by 247Sports.com … The 57th-ranked overall prospect in Georgia by Rivals … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl … Made 76 tackles while recording two sacks and five tackles for loss as a senior … Helped lead Tift County to a state quarterfinal appearance … Named first-team All-Region 1-7A as a junior … Recorded 11 tackles for loss and five sacks while making 49 stops and forcing two fumbles … Finished with 40 tackles and four sacks along with eight tackles for loss and a fumble recovery as a sophomore … Also received offers from Alabama, Appalachian State, Arkansas, Auburn, Coastal Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Tulane, UAB, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.

Jalen Hall, WR, 6-4, 195, Fr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Long Beach Poly)
Consensus four-star prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … Rated the No. 4 player in the state of California, No. 9 wide receiver and No. 66 player in the ESPN300 … Rivals tabbed him the No. 106 overall prospect, No. 17 player in California and No. 18 wide out in the class … Ranked the No. 127 overall recruit and No. 22 wide receiver in the 247Sports composite rating … Invited to play in the 2018 Army All-American game … Advanced to the final roster for Nike’s The Opening … Caught 32 passes for 515 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a senior … Recorded more than 100 receiving yards in two games during the 2017 season … An All-USA Today California second-team selection his junior and senior seasons … Had more than 1,000 receiving yards as a freshman, sophomore, and junior … Racked up 3,870 career receiving yards on 194 catches, averaging 19.9 yards per catch … Recorded 39 total touchdowns in his four seasons as a Jackrabbit … Also received offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State. Auburn, Boise State, Boston College, California, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, San Jose State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulsa, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington and Washington State.

Spencer Webb, TE, 6-5, 235, Fr., Sacramento, Calif. (Christian Brothers HS)
The 11th-ranked tight end in the nation and 31st-overall prospect in California by 247Sports … Ranked sixth in the country at tight end and 30th in the state by ESPN … A 247Sports four-star recruit … Selected first-team all-state by CalHiSports as a senior … Named to the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro team … Finished with 23 touchdown catches with 61 receptions and 1,063 receiving yards, averaging 17.4 yards per catch … Scored multiple touchdowns in seven of team’s 13 games, including four three-touchdown performances … A standout defensively as well, recording eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss and 48 tackles …  Caught 41 passes for 660 yards and five touchdowns as a junior in 2016 … Helped lead Christian Brothers to a CIF Division III Sac-Joaquin section runner-up finish … Also received offers from California, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida State, Hawaii, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Texas A&M, UCLA and Wyoming.

Isaah Crocker, WR, 6-1, 175, Fr., Sacramento, Calif. (Inderkum HS)
Consensus four-star and top 300 prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … Tabbed the No. 131 overall prospect, No. 23 wide receiver and No. 19 player in California by Rivals … Ranked No. 179 overall in the 247Sports composite rating … Graded by 247Sports as the No. 186 overall prospect, No. 26 wide out and No. 28 player in California by 247Sports … Ranked No. 274 in the ESPN300 … Advanced to the final roster for Nike’s The Opening … Played in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl … Named to the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro football team as an all-purpose player in 2017 … As a senior, caught 11 touchdown passes while racking up 545 yards on 18 receptions … Averaged 30.3 yards per catch and also ran for 218 yards and four touchdowns on just 17 carries … Also intercepted four passes and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns … An honorable mention selection on the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro team as a junior … Finished with 31 receptions for 746 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 24.1 yards per catch … Defensively, recorded two interceptions and 19 tackles to help Inderkum to a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up finish … Showed big-play capability as a sophomore, averaging 31.3 yards per reception while catching four touchdown passes … Recorded five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, and ran one kickoff back for a score … Also received offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Colorado State, Hawaii, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Utah.

Justin Johnson, OL, 6-7, 355, Fr., Philadelphia, Pa. (Neumann-Goretti HS)The 68th-ranked offensive tackle in the country and 24th overall recruit from Pennsylvania according to 247Sports … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Garnered first-team all-league honors as a senior … A 2017 Pennsylvania Football Writers First-Team All-State selection … Helped the Saints record more than 1,000 yards rushing in 2017 … Played a role in leading Neumann-Goretti to an 11-1 record and a state quarterfinal berth in 2017 after going 0-9 the year before … Also received offers from Boston College, BYU, Buffalo, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan State, Missouri, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Diego State, Syracuse, Temple,  Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Villanova, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
Karsten Battles, LS, 6-1, 240, Fr., San Antonio, Texas (Claudia Taylor Johnson HS)
Named first-team U.S. Army All- America as a senior … Finalist for The Chris Rubio Award for top high school long snapper in the country … The third-ranked long snapper in the country according to 247Sports … Received first-team all-district honors his junior and senior seasons … Named District 26 Special Teams Utility Player of the Year as a junior … Crucial role in helping the Jaguars convert 40-of-41 PAT attempts in 2017 … Invited to play in the 2018 Army All-American game … Completed one pass his senior year for 56 yards and a touchdown … Also received offers from Army and Incarnate Word.

Verone McKinley III, CB, 5-11, 170, Fr., Carrolton, Texas (Hebron HS)
The 30th-ranked cornerback in the country and 39th-overall prospect in Texas by Rivals … Ranked 40th at his position and 55th in the state by 247Sports … A Rivals four-star recruit … Participated in the The Opening’s Dallas Regional … Named first-team All-6A District 5 as a senior … Selected to the 247Sports All-Midlands team … Made five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, and 50 total tackles while forcing a fumble … Earned first-team All-6A District 5 as a junior … Intercepted four passes and made 38 tackles while defending 14 passes and recovering two fumbles … Picked off four passes, returning one for a touchdown, while making 28 tackles and recording two tackles for loss as a freshman … Also received offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas State, Baylor, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Houston, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, LSU, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, SMU, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA, Washington and Washington State.

Jevon Holland, S, 6-1, 182, Fr., Pleasanton, Calif. (Bishop O’Dowd HS)
The 14th-ranked safety in the nation and 153rd overall prospect by 247Sports … Ranked as the 21st overall prospect from California by 247Sports … A 247Sports four-star recruit … Accumulated 34 tackles, four pass deflections and a team-high five interceptions as a senior … Named the 2017 North Coast Section Co-Defensive Player of the Year … Also Bishop O’Dowd’s top wide receiver in 2017, accumulating 1,012 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns on 35 catches … Helped lead Bishop O’Dowd to a Division III state semifinal appearance … Also returned 23 punts averaging 22 yards per return while scoring five touchdowns … Accounted for 119 total tackles and 18 pass deflections during high school career … Selected to play in the 2018 USA Football International Bowl … Also received offers from Arizona, Boise State, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, Notre Dame, UCLA, Utah State, Washington and Washington State.

Haki Woods, CB, 6-3, 192, Jr.,Chicago, Ill. (Pima CC/South Bend Washington HS)
The ninth-ranked junior college cornerback and 13th-ranked player out of Arizona according to 247Sports … 76th-ranked overall prospect … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Originally committed to Indiana State, where he redshirted in 2014 before transferring to Pima Community College for two seasons … Ranked 86th among all junior college prospects in the nation according to Rivals … Named a 2017 second-team NJCAA All-American … Received 2017 Western States Football League first-team defensive back and first-team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore … Recorded 45 tackles, 35 solo, and five pass breakups in 2017 … Two-time all-state and all-conference selection at Washington High School in South Bend, Ind. … Also received offers from Arizona, California, Oklahoma State and Utah.

MJ Cunningham, LB, 6-3, 230, Fr., Portland, Ore. (Madison HS)
The 26th-ranked athlete in the country and eighth overall prospect in Oregon by 247Sports … Ranked 33rd among athletes and eighth in the state by Rivals … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Transferred to Madison High School for senior season after spending first three years at Franklin High School … Missed all of senior season due to injury … Threw for 1,282 yards and 21 touchdowns while running for three more as a junior … A first-team All-Portland Interscholastic League selection at linebacker as a sophomore, helping Franklin to an OSAA 6A state playoffs appearance … Intercepted five passes and made 57 tackles while recovering two fumbles and forcing two … Also received offers from Hawaii, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, Utah State and Washington State.

Travis Dye, RB, 5-11, 180, Fr., Norco, Calif. (Norco HS)
The 67th-ranked running back in the nation and 113th overall prospect in California by 247Sports … Ranked 96th in the state by Rivals … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Named the Big VIII League Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2017 … Ran for 2,383 yards on 255 carries with 34 touchdowns … Averaged 216.6 rushing yards per game and 9.3 yards per carry and ran for more than 100 yards in nine games … Racked up 1,878 yards on the ground on 259 carries with 15 touchdowns as a junior … Surpassed 100 yards eight times while averaging 7.3 yards per carry and 156.5 yards per game … Caught 29 passes for 465 yards and six touchdowns … As a sophomore, ran for 844 yards on 94 carries with nine touchdowns … Averaged 9.0 yards per carry and 84.4 yards per game … Brother of Oregon sophomore linebacker Troy Dye.

Steven Jones, OL, 6-6, 340, Fr., Temecula, Calif. (Chaparral HS)
Ranked eighth in the country among offensive guards and 28th overall in California by Rivals … The ninth-ranked offensive guard in the nation and 30th-overall prospect in the state by 247Sports … Ranked 31st in the state and 16th at his position by ESPN … A 247Sports four-star recruit … Named first-team All-Southwestern League as a senior … Helped open holes for a Chaparral offense that averaged 205.7 rushing yards per game and surpassed 200 yards six times … Earned first-team All-Southwestern League honors as a junior … Paved the way for a running game that averaged 177.1 yards per game and went over 100 rushing yards in eight games … Also received offers from Boise State, California, Colorado, Iowa State, Louisville, San Diego State, TCU, UCLA, UNLV, Utah, Washington and Washington State.

Christopher Randazzo, OL, 6-7, 330, Fr., Chino, Calif. (Don Lugo HS)
The 48th-ranked offensive tackle in the country and 70th-overall prospect in California by Rivals … Ranked 75th among all prospects in the state and 57th at his position by 247Sports … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Named first-team All-Mt. Baldy League as a senior … Opened holes for a Don Lugo offense that averaged 149.6 rushing yards per game and eclipsed the 100-yard mark in every game … Helped lead the Conquistadors to a CIF Southern Section Division 7 runner-up finish … A second-team All-Mt. Baldy League selection as a junior … Paved the way for 246.5 yards per game on the ground and 34.1 points per game, helping Don Lugo to a Mt. Baldy League title … Part of an offensive line that led the way for 164.5 rushing yards per game and 344.5 total yards as a sophomore … Also received offers from Arizona State, Fresno State, Utah and Washington State.

Steve Stephens, S, 6-0, 185, Fr., Fresno, Calif. (Edison HS)
The 11th-ranked safety and 15th overall prospect in California by 247Sports … Ranked 116th overall according to 247Sports … A 247Sports four-star recruit … Named the California Metro Area Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior … A 2018 Under Armour All-American Game selection … Recorded 53 tackles, including four tackles for loss and one sack, as a senior … Broke up 14 passes and led the team with four interceptions … Scored two touchdowns as Edison’s punt returner, averaging 21 yards per return … A dual-threat on offense and defense, catching 12 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns as a senior … Also received offers from Arizona State, Boise State, California, Colorado, Eastern Washington, Fresno State, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Jose State, USC and Washington State.

Adrian Jackson, ILB, 6-2, 210, Fr., Denver, Colo. (Mullen HS)
The No. 1 ranked recruit out of Colorado and 11th-ranked inside linebacker according to 247Sports … A 247sports four-star recruit … A 2017 first-team all-state selection … Invited to play in the 2018 Under Armour All-American game … Racked up 65 tackles, 54 solo, along with two interceptions and a fumble recovery as a senior … Accounted for 160 total tackles during high school career … Ran on the Mullen’s track team, earning three first-place finishes as a part of the Mustang’s 4×100 meter relay squad … Also received offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, TCU, USC, Utah and Wisconsin.

Andrew Faoliu, DL, 6-3, 255, Fr., Santa Ana, Calif. (Mater Dei HS)
The 86th-ranked defensive end in the nation and 167th overall recruit out of California according to 247Sports … A 247Sports three-star recruit … Recorded 42 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two pass deflections as a senior … Helped Mater Dei win the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section state title making three tackles and two sacks in the championship game against St. John Bosco … Made five tackles in Mater Dei’s CIF bowl win over De La Salle … Invited to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl … Brother of Oregon freshman defensive lineman Austin Faoliu … Also received offers from Arizona, Illinois, Texas-San Antonio and Utah State.

Dawson Jaramillo, OL, 6-5, 295, Fr., Portland, Ore. (Lake Oswego HS)
The 15th-ranked offensive tackle in the country and the No. 4 overall recruit out of Oregon according to 247Sports … A 247Sports four-star recruit … Selected to play in the 2018 Under Armour All-American Game … Picked to participate in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl … Helped Lake Oswego reach the Oregon State 6A semifinals his senior season … Named to the 2017 Class 6A first-team offense … 2017 all-league selection … Earned all-league and all-state honorable mention recognitions his junior year … Also received offers from California, Oregon State, TCU, UCLA, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Tyler Shough, QB, 6-5, 197, Fr., Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton HS)
The fifth-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation and top overall recruit in Arizona by 247Sports … Ranked 128th among all prospects and fifth among pro-style quarterbacks by Rivals … A 247Sports four-star recruit …  Participated in the Elite 11 camp with the nation’s top quarterback prospects … Selected first-team 6A Premier League as a senior … Named first-team All-Chandler Unified School District … Threw 30 touchdowns and five interceptions, finishing with 3,071 passing yards while completing 62.4 percent of passes … Passed for 238 yards and three touchdowns to lead Hamilton to a first-round win in the Arizona Interscholastic Association State Championships … Earned All-Premier League honorable mention recognition as a junior in 2016 … Finished with 2,079 yards passing, 27 touchdowns and a 62.3 completion percentage … Tossed three touchdown passes and threw for 262 yards in a state quarterfinal loss … Also received offers from Alabama, Arizona State, California, Colorado State, Florida State, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon State, San Jose State, South Carolina, Texas-San Antonio, Washington State and Western Kentucky.

Sione Vea Kava, DL, 6-6, 270, Jr., Honolulu, Hawaii (Kalani HS/East Los Angeles College)
Ranked 30th among all junior college prospects in California and 32nd at defensive tackle by 247Sports … A 247Sports three-star junior college recruit … Played two years at East Los Angeles College … Ranked the 51st junior college prospect in the nation according to Rivals … 2017 All-California Community College Region IV Defensive Player of the Year … Named the Metro League Defensive Player of the year as a sophomore … Recorded five sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss with 23 tackles and a forced fumble … Made 22 tackles and had two sacks with five blocked kicks as a freshman … Graduated from Kalani High School in 2016 … Named second-team All-Hawaii by ScoringLive as a senior in 2015 … Earned honorable mention all-state recognition from the Honolulu Star Advertiser … Selected first-team All-OIA … Recorded three sacks in a season-opening win … Also received offers from Arizona State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Hawaii, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon State and Syracuse.

Jamal Elliott, RB, 5-10, 180, Fr., Durham, N.C. (Hillside HS)
The 13th-ranked running back in the nation and 11th overall prospect in North Carolina by 247Sports … A 247Sports four-star recruit … Played in three games his senior season before being sidelined due to injury … Racked up 290 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns over the three-game span, rushing for 128 yards on 38 carries and catching 13 passes for 164 yards … Led Hillside with 11 touchdowns scored as a junior; nine rushing, two receiving and one kickoff return … Finished junior year with 684 rushing yards on 83 carries, averaging 8.2 yards per carry … Ran for more than 100 yards four times in 2016 … Also received offers from Appalachian State, Arizona, Boston College, Charlotte, Duke, East Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi State, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

~ Rick Morgan
www.DuckNews.com