Kayvon Thibodeaux On Choosing Oregon Over Alabama: ‘Do You Know The Stigmatism Of Alabama Education?’

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The No. 2 overall player in the recruiting class of 2019, Kayvon Thibodeaux had his pick of nearly every school to play college football.

Thibodeaux fielded offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida State and Florida before committing to Oregon. Thibodeaux sat down with FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt Wednesday and revealed why he didn’t go to Alabama.

“Do you know the stigmatism of Alabama education? It ain’t the West Coast,” Thibodeaux said. “It ain’t Harvard.”

Thibodeaux meant to say “stigma,” not “stigmatism” or “astigmatism” (a common imperfection in the eye’s curvature.)

The top player in the 2022 NFL Draft continued, saying head coach Nick Saban’s recruiting pitch didn’t mesh with him. The pitch, according to Thibodeaux, was that players want to play when they think they’re ready, not when Saban thinks they’re ready.

To this date, every single one of Saban’s recruiting classes at Alabama has won a National Championship. Thibodeaux said that while that’s important, he had his sights on the bigger picture.

“You know what I sat back and thought about? I sat back and said, ‘What world do I want to be a part of?’ I said, ‘If I go to Alabama, I’m going to win national championships, literally,'” Thibodeaux said. “‘But do I want to be a guy who’s known as a national championship winner, or do I want to be a guy who’s known for being a part of the greatest organization in the world?'”

In his mind, that organization is Nike, which has a stronghold on Oregon. Nike owner Phil Knight is an Oregon alumnus and donates millions each year to the university. The worldwide brand was just too much for Thibodeaux to turn down, as it is for many athletes.

“What people don’t realize is that football is an American sport,” Thibodeaux said. “So, no matter how great Alabama is, you only play football in America, Canada and a couple other places. But a brand like Nike, I mean, for me it was like, ‘What brand associations do I want to be tied to?'”

While Thibodeaux never reached the mountain top in Eugene, he did star on the Ducks’ defense for three seasons. Thibodeaux recorded 19 sacks and 35.5 tackles for loss in 30 games for the Ducks. He was a two-time First-Team All-Pro in the Pac-12 (2020-21) and an unanimous All-American (2021).

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Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.


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  1. Not sure I’d have hitched my cart to Nike when selecting a college, it seems a bit overthought. Also, what exactly did Nike promise this young lad during the pre-NIL timeframe? Just to add, Nike sportswear is overpriced garbage, narrow girlie-man shoes, crappy socks that die in the dryer, overpriced shorts, sweats, equipment.

  2. He’s going to have Alabama teammates! He’s looking down on them? He’s better than them? He’s gonna be great in the locker room.

    He thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room (he’s not).

    He doesn’t love football. He’s loves football for what it can do for him. Football is a means to an end. He’ll be working on Nike sooner than expected.

    Bust potential: 100%

  3. … just another “trash-talking brutha.” It could just as likely come from /or be about any high profile FB /MBB program in America.

    It’ll rile up the overly-caffeinated folks around Tuscaloosa. but not likely to have a lasting impact.
    Hopefully no whack-job in Tuscaloosa will run out to Eugene “to kill a tree” .or …

  4. This guy is pure comedy. He has the audacity to call out another university for its education but he can’t even put together a proper English sentence to save his life. Just listen to this nitwit try to speak his native language. Like fingernails on a chalkboard. He be smart doe, just ax LeBitch!

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