To call yesterday's win for Oregon over Stanford a huge victory would be underselling. Any win is big when you're fighting for a spot in the college football playoff, but embarrassing a team that has been your biggest nemesis has to make it even sweeter.
Then the Ducks pulled off the recruiting version of going for two when the game was out of hand yesterday when they landed a commitment from 4 star defensive end Canton Kaumatule. At one time Stanford was considered a heavy favorite to land Kaumatule and his brother is also a current member of the Cardinal football team.
The win on the field is massive, but the win in recruiting is in even bigger in my opinion. Kaumatule was considered a 5 star player, but had his ranking drop due to injury during his junior season and his lack of participation in the summer camp circuits that too many people put an emphasis on. He also hails from Hawaii and there frankly aren't as many recruiting analysts who get to see a player like Kaumatule in person.
His talent can't be denied though. He's 6'7" 290 and looks downright slim for young man that size. He has room to add weight and is only going to get bigger and stronger in Oregon's strength and conditioning program. He's also surprisingly agile and moves like a much smaller player.
Despite not having a ton of film available, I loved what I saw from him as a junior. He's not just a big body out there. This kid can get after the quarterback. Here's an example of him dipping and ripping on a pass rush. After he initially misses the tackle, he gets back up and finishes the play.
He is even better versus the run. I watched a couple of games from his senior season and he is consistently double teamed and is able to not only hold up against the point of attack, but get off blocks to make plays. When he is single blocked, he can't be controlled and he's a disruptive presence. He's versatile enough to project to be a two-gap player if that's what is asked of him or a one-gap penetrator that would be a constant presence in the opposition's backfield.
He is a perfect fit for Oregon's scheme and the type of dimensions they are looking for to play in that scheme as well. The Ducks also have another defensive lineman committed in this recruiting class in Gus Cumberlander that also fits the size they are looking for, but it may take Cumberlander a couple of years before he gets to where he needs to be to contribute in the Pac-12. That's not going to be the case with Kaumatule. He can come in and be physically ready to contribute immediately and has the chance to develop into a dominant player for multiple years.
In terms of flat out potential, there may not be another player in this entire recruiting class with as high of a ceiling. This class is loaded with defensive line talent and it would not shock me if Kaumatule ended up being the best of the bunch by the time his college career is over.
Losing a game in the way that Stanford lost yesterday is going to sting for awhile. Losing a player like Kaumatule to one of their biggest rivals could feel a lot worse for the Cardinal over the next four years.