When the Oregon Ducks hosted consensus five-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the nation's No. 1 overall prospect on 247Sports, on an official visit this fall the program they knew they had to hit it out of the park.
After all, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end, out of Oaks Christian High School (Thousand Oaks, California), was being pursued by the majority of the nation's top programs and admitted he didn't consider Oregon a frontrunner.
But all of that changed in mid-October when Thibodeaux was blown away by his trip to Eugene, calling Oregon's win over Washington the "best college game I've ever been to, best energy."
Shortly thereafter, while still on his trip, the five-star prospect indicated he planned to move up his commitment date.
"I'll be making my decision on December 15, my birthday," he told The Los Angeles Times. "I need more time. I loved my trip to Oregon...the coaches, the strength and conditioning, but I was most drawn in by the school's journalism program. I want to get into broadcast when football is over."
Since that trip, Thibodeaux has been relatively quiet about trimming his list or naming a leader, but that hasn't stopped the top national recruiting analysts from making picks on where he'll end up.
And Tuesday, one prediction in particular was music to Oregon fans' ears.
Rivals national recruiting director Mike Farrell predicted Thibodeaux to Oregon, joining a flock of recent predictions that also includes fellow Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney and 247Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins.
What does all of this mean?
Thibodeaux has set a mid-December commitment date, which provides plenty of time for a change-of-heart.
However, the combination of his glowing reviews of his Oregon official visit and the flurry of predictions in the Ducks' favor is a very encouraging sign.
Historically speaking, Oregon has never signed the nation's No. 1 prospect, but came close in the class of 2002 with Utah product five-star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who was the No. 2 talent in the country.
Oregon again came close in the class of 2011 after flipping former USC commit and consensus five-star athlete De'Anthony Thomas, then the No. 5 player in the country.
Considering the impact those two players had on the program, Thibodeaux's pending commitment should have Oregon fans anxious for a possible early holiday gift.
Article first appeared on OregonLive.com