Kayvon Thibodeaux, No. 1 recruit in ESPN 300, commits to Oregon

ESPN's top football recruit commits to Oregon (1:17)

DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, listed as ESPN's top high school football recruit in the Class of 2019, commits to the Oregon Ducks. (1:17)

Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 1-ranked prospect in the 2019 class, committed to Oregon on Saturday, choosing the Ducks over Alabama, Florida and Florida State.

"Mario Cristobal is a great guy. On my home visit, he really touched down, my mom loved him," Thibodeaux said as he announced his decision on ESPN. "[I] can take over on defense. You can be the best man, the biggest man, that's my goal."

The 6-foot-5, 234-pound defensive end out of Westlake Village, California, is the first top-ranked prospect Oregon has landed since ESPN started its rankings in 2009.

Thibodeaux gives the coaching staff 10 commitments from the ESPN 300 and adds to an excellent defensive haul in this class to go along with No. 1 cornerback Mykael Wright and linebackers Mase Funa and Ge'Mon Eaford -- both top-10 outside linebackers at their position.

Oregon now has six ESPN 300 commitments from the state of California in this class.

Thibodeaux took a unique approach to his recruitment as he tried to make the most out of each visit to weigh matters outside of football.

Visiting Alabama, he took time to see 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed by Ku Klux Klan members in the '60s. On an unofficial visit to Florida State, he visited nearby Florida A&M in Tallahassee and toured the university's archives that focus on African-Americans' contributions to politics, science, education, athletics and more.

"I know these schools have a great [football] program, but I feel like more student-athletes should go check out the history," Thibodeaux said. "There's a lot of history in the football world and college world, so every time I'm going to a place where I have an opportunity to learn some history, I like to."

He has also thought about his life after football and already has a plan for once he finishes his playing career.

"I want to go into journalism. I want to be a commentator," Thibodeaux said. "I have a great voice for on-camera, and a great personality, so I feel like that would be a great fit for me."

His recruitment has taken some twists and turns, with schools jockeying for position to land him, but coach Mario Cristobal and his staff now have the top recruit committed and set to sign when the early signing period opens Dec. 19.

Under Cristobal, recruiting at Oregon has taken off, with 21 ESPN 300 commitments in the 2018 and 2019 classes, which is three more than the Ducks had combined from 2013 to 2017.

Before Thibodeaux's commitment, Oregon had the No. 6-ranked class in the ESPN class rankings.