EUGENE — On Saturday, coach Oregon Ducks coach Mario Cristobal and his staff beat ’Bama.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, a five-star defensive end from Westlake Village, California, verbally committed to Oregon over Alabama, Florida and Florida State.

During his announcement carried live on ESPN, Thibodeaux was asked why he decided to join a program known nationally for offense.

“Because you can take over on the defense,” said Thibodeaux, who celebrated his birthday Saturday. “You can be the best man, you can be the biggest man. That’s my goal.”

ESPN ranked Thibodeaux as the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2019 cycle. The 6-foot-5, 239-pound star is the highest-ranked player to commit to Oregon since recruiting ranking databases began.

“Not only is this pickup important for the University of Oregon, but it’s critical for the state of the Pac-12,” ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said. “You just don’t have players that are this impactful along the defensive front coming out of the West Coast each and every year. The defensive front personnel in this league needs to improve greatly. …”

Thibodeaux is the 20th known verbal commitment in Oregon’s 2019 class, which moved up from No. 7 to No. 3 in Rivals rankings behind Alabama and Georgia.

— The (Eugene) Register-Guard

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