The I-5 Thoughts: Ducks keep momentum as signing day nears; Cristobal's greatest recruit
On Jabbar Muhammad, Cristobal's best recruits, Oregon's best hotbed and the big ticket in Corvallis.
Jabbar Muhammad has done this kind of thing before.
It was just a year ago that the Texas-born cornerback went into the transfer portal and came out on a team with national championship aspirations. Muhammad spent three years at Oklahoma State, entered the portal and landed on a Washington team that knew improving its much-beleaguered secondary was the key piece before it was to be taken seriously.
Come fall camp, Muhammad had wasted no time reassuring his coaches they had made the right acquisition.
“He’s been fantastic,” Washington co-defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell said in August. “The thing I think about Jabbar all the time is just such a veteran presence that he brings, a professional approach to how he prepares every day. Here’s a guy who just came in this spring. Already advanced knowledge of the scheme. You can just tell the way he’s playing — he’s playing really fast.”
His play throughout the 2023 season backed up those initial impressions. Muhammad started every game for the Huskies and landed on the Pac-12’s second-team after making 46 tackles and finishing second in the nation with 20 passes defended. On Saturday, Muhammad announced his transfer to Oregon and will almost certainly take on the vacant CB1 role left open by the departing Kyree Jackson.
He’s certainly got the attitude for the role.
“Demeanor. Twitch. And then his vision is excellent,” Morrell said. “He can diagnose routes, see pictures, and he’s never out of position.”
Saw longtime Corridor subscriber Cyrus Smith pose this question over on Twitter during
the Lions massacre of the 49ers San Francisco’s come-from-behind win over Detroit.
Cyrus, it’s not a mailbag week. But since you’re one of the longest tenured members here on the I-5 — and I owe you one for skipping Cal during the Goodbye series — let’s dive into this one.
First, an opinion: Mario Cristobal is the greatest on-paper recruiter Oregon has ever seen. While Dan Lanning might very well soon take over that title, Cristobal’s run of classes for a school that had never recruited like that before is unmatched. And while his Hurricanes haven’t done a whole lot of winning yet in Miami, they do sit with 2024’s No. 4 class.
TL;DR: The guy can recruit, and he knew he had hit with Sewell from the very first day the 17-year-old walked through the Hatfield Dowlin-Complex doors.
“(He’s) a great example of the types of battles Oregon is capable of winning,” Cristobal said in 2018. “He is an ultimate difference-maker.”
And he was. Sewell became the first true freshman to start the first game of the season at left tackle for the Ducks in 20 years. He won the Morris and Outland Trophies as a sophomore and was well-positioned to stamp his name as one of the better offensive linemen in conference history had it not been for the disruption of the 2020 season by COVID-19.
Because of that season, and an ankle sprain that cost him six games as a freshman, Sewell only started 21 games in his Oregon career. He was dominant in each, though, and it’s hard to make an argument any player that came from Cristobal’s four recruiting classes was better.
However, it’s not a blowout. Here’s a few other highlights from Cristobal’s classes: