Mario Cristobal is all about the battle in the trenches. The former two-time national champion offensive lineman at Miami has built a culture of toughness and grit along the offensive and defensive lines in his time at Oregon.
2022 4-star prospect Patrick Kutas is just the kind of player that Cristobal is looking to add to the flourishing culture of great linemen at Oregon. Kutas hails from Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tenn., where he plays on both the offensive and defensive lines.
The 6-foot-5, 299-pound lineman took an official visit to Eugene last weekend, where he got to meet the coaches, players, other recruits, and see everything Oregon had to offer.
Kutas told Ducks Digest that he had a blast checking out the campus.
"It was really beautiful there," he said of Eugene. "The weather was awesome. The campus has so many resources that they give you. You really can’t fail there.”
Current Ducks offensive linemen Ryan Walk and Marcus Harper II spent time talking with Kutas and his family about what it's like to play for Oregon and how they spend their time outside of football. One Ducks player barbecued for Kutas, along with Eston Harris Jr. and Dave Iuli who were also visiting Eugene.
Kutas spent the most time with Coach Cristobal and Coach Mirabal while on his visit and said he is closest with them among the coaching staff. Despite being listed as a defensive lineman by most recruiting services, he is being recruited by the Ducks' coaches as an offensive tackle.
"They want me as more of an offensive tackle because I'm a longer and a lean build," he said of the staff's plan for him. "They like my athleticism for being a big guy, my violence off the ball, and my striking ability on the defensive line. They can see that turning over really well on the offensive line."
Kutas said his favorite part of the visit was sitting down with Coach Mirabal and breaking down film. He called Mirabal's attention to detail and focus second to none.
"If you watch one film session with Coach Mirabal, you see how he breaks everything down from the ground up," Kutas said. "His attention to detail and focus are like nobody else.
"He’s the best in the game."
Mirabal was the coach that extended the offer to Kutas back in January, and Kutas said that the offer took him by surprise.
"I was shocked," said Kutas, who also holds offers from schools like Florida State, Tennessee, and Texas A&M among others. "It's a really big school and a primetime school."
Kutas played a "good amount" on the offensive line in high school, saying that while he was mostly a defensive lineman last season, it was "kind of a split between playing offensive and defensive line."
He said he expects to split time between both positions again in his senior season, but that he doesn't necessarily have a preference between the two.
The Memphis native also bonded with Coach Cristobal while on his visit and said that he communicates with him almost daily.
"We're super tight," Kutas said of Cristobal. "I think he's really changed that Oregon program. He's really turned it around."
Matavao One of Numerous Freshmen Stepping up on Big Stage
Oregon's 2021 recruiting class made a huge stamp on the win over Ohio State.
Kutas mentioned in particular Cristobal's ability to turn top recruiting classes into success on the football field. The Ducks have finished atop the Pac-12 in 247Sports' recruiting rankings in each of the past three seasons and have ranked in the top 20 in the country in each of the last five seasons.
"They're really good at recruiting, and they can back it up too," Kutas said. "What stood out to me most was the focus that they really have on their players. It's next-level high."
Oregon currently sits at third in the Pac-12 behind USC and UCLA and 25th nationally in the 2022 rankings. With 10 recruits currently committed, adding Kutas would give the Ducks a significant boost.
Kutas has also taken official visits to Illinois and Arkansas, as well as unofficial visits to Florida State, Purdue, and Indiana. He told Ducks Digest that he is being recruited the hardest by Illinois, Arkansas, Florida State, Oregon and Tennessee.
He doesn't have any more official or unofficial visits scheduled this month, but he plans to visit Oregon again once the dead period ends later this summer.
Kutas doesn't have a decision date yet, but that he may commit some time next season and plans to release his top schools list soon.
He spoke with our Matt Ray of SI's Volunteer Country this spring.
More from Ducks Digest
Connect with Ducks Digest on Social Media
Follow Dylan on Twitter: @drksportsnews
Like and follow Ducks Digest on Facebook: @DucksDigest
Follow Ducks Digest on Twitter: @Ducksdigest
Subscribe to Ducks Digest on YouTube: @DucksDigest
Find more Oregon Ducks content at Ducksdigest.com