Editor's note: The interview for this story was conducted by the staff at SI All-American
The Ducks are humming right along in June with elite recruits continuing to travel to Eugene from all across the country each weekend. Just this week, Mario Cristobal and his staff hosted highly-coveted offensive lineman Tyler Booker from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
After placing the Ducks in his top five back in April, he made the trip with both of his parents and younger brother and took some time to speak about the visit.
A lot stood out from Booker's trip to Oregon, including the weather and scenery, which he described as "fall in Connecticut," where he was born and raised. But the staff's plan for him as well as the program's future, really grabbed his attention.
"Just how the whole staff, and pretty much the city embraced me," he said of his trip to Eugene. "It was amazing. It was special being out there and I just love what they have.
"I love what they have planned for the future, especially with name, image and likeness coming into play-- the presentation that they gave me, shows me that they're leaps and bounds ahead of any other school."
The era of NIL (name, image and likeness) is sure to shake up the college football landscape, and the Ducks are in great shape to capitalize on their long-standing relationship with Nike founder Phil Knight, an Oregon alumnus.
"Oregon is always going to get the publicity because their uniforms alone," Booker said.
"Just having that brand behind me, the Oregon brand behind me, and then just how they're ahead of the game: they have Nike as one of their big backers," Booker said of Oregon's relationship with the most recognizable brand in sports. "Nike uses Oregon for a lot of their test subjects, for a lot of products and things like that. So when they're actually able to reach out to us, I could have a Nike deal, in a sense in college. That would be amazing."
What's the pitch the defending Pac-12 champs are using for the 6-foot-5, 325-pound offensive lineman?
"The same way that they used Penei (Sewell) is the same way that they'll use me. This is the first time I've ever heard this from a college coach as a pitch--they weaponize their offensive line."
This was huge for Booker, who said that was one of his questions as he takes his trips. Do the tackles get out in space and do the coaches allow their tackles to make plays and assist?
You could clearly tell that the Oregon staff put some serious thought into their preparation, as Offensive Line Coach Alex Mirabal had clipped more than 30 plays of Penei Sewell doing just that: making plays in space.
The staff's pitch outlined exactly how that would work for Booker, who utilizes his athleticism to get out in front of the play and put a hurt on any and all bodies that he collides with.
"So for me to make plays and to be weaponized with an offense, as a wide receiver would be weaponized: as they target plays to a wide receiver they would target plays to me, for me to get out in open space, for me to make plays," he said when explaining the staff's vision for him.
The IMG prep said the staff's pitch is what stood out the most to him, aligning perfectly with one of his main goals of creating a new narrative around the offensive line position.
"We can take the beating, but we're gonna give the beating too. And we're gonna get our shine on. I feel like Oregon is the perfect spot to do that."
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Adding to the appeal for Booker is the variety of activities that come with life in the Pacific Northwest. Mountain ranges and close proximity to the ocean would give him the chance to try new things, a vital component of creating an enriching college experience.
Even the most minute details on a trip are always at the forefront of Oregon's thinking. Someone who takes an incredibly detailed approach is Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Aaron Feld, who develops some of college football's most elite athletes.
"The special thing was Coach Feld-- He took mindset so seriously. And that's the first time I've seen that out of a school," Booker said.
"He gave us a whole presentation on mental conditioning and mental training and things of that nature."
Showing that to a recruit like Booker, a young man that wants to study sports psychology, further drives home that this was a home run visit for Oregon. His family loved what they saw and heard from the staff, who ensured that Booker's younger brother also felt like a recruit, allowing him to try on multiple jerseys.
He added that he loved the visit and is looking forward to being back on campus.
For a recruitment that appeared to be leaning in the SEC's favor, Oregon has as good a chance as anyone. Booker had already visited Florida and will head to Athens Friday morning for a visit with Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs.
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