10 greatest Oregon football players from the Mario Cristobal era

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal leads warmups before the game against Stony Brook.
Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal leads warmups before the game against Stony Brook. / [Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard] / USA
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Mario Cristobal abandoned the Ducks. Just like Chip Kelly. Just like Willie Taggart. Cristobal left Eugene for what he saw as greener pastures.

However, Cristobal did help transform the Ducks into the powerhouse program they are today before he took his leave.

Leading the Ducks to a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin and an unexpected road win over the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cristobal did a lot for Oregon’s football team.

He also recruited a hell of a roster in his five years with the Ducks. Starting his time as head coach in 2017, Cristobal had players in his starting lineup that even continue to shine in the NFL today.

Before leaving Euegene in 2021, Cristobal coached up and forged some truly incredible players.

Here are the best 10 players who took the field during Oregon’s Mario Cristobal era:

Kayvon Thibodeaux

Thibodeaux committed to the Ducks over offers from Nick Saban at Alabama and his hometown team of the USC Trojans. He had an immediate impact in the Pac-12, setting Oregon’s freshman record with 9 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.

The Duck was voted the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year by coaches and was included on multiple All-American first-team rosters.

In his sophomore year, cut short by COVID-19, Thibodeaux racked up more tackles, more sacks, and more awards. Opposing players selected him as the defensive Morris Trophy winner, awarded to the best linemen on both sides of the ball.

Thibodeaux’s final year with the Ducks led to expected yet unprecedented success on the field. He earned unanimous All-American status. He was a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy which are both given to the best defensive player in the nation

Before his collegiate career ended, he collected 122 total tackles and 19 sacks while gearing up for the Ducks.

Thibodeaux was drafted by the New York Giants. He has earned 26 tackles and 11.5 sacks during his two seasons in the NFL.