National Football League

Cristobal saw Herbert's unique talent before time at Oregon

June 1

As he enters his third season, Justin Herbert is already considered one of the NFL's top quarterbacks.

He was just a few snaps away from propelling his Chargers to a postseason appearance, and their inability to scrap their way into the playoffs wasn't the byproduct of their QB's insufficiencies.

The big-armed fire-baller was stellar in his second season, becoming the first QB in Chargers history to surpass the 5,000-yard threshold, totaling 5,014 in all to go with a team-record 38 touchdowns. Herbert also showed off his sneaky athleticism, amassing 302 rushing yards on 63 totes with three rushing TDs. 

His feats from the superb showing earned him his first Pro Bowl nod. He also set league records for passing yards (9,350) and total TDs through a QB's first two seasons (77), and became the first signal-caller to eclipse 30 TDs in each of his first two campaigns.

Herbert's presence, coupled with the Chargers' retooled defense, are chiefly why the team heads into the 2022 campaign with a gush of high expectations. 

And according to Herbert's last college coach at Oregon, unique talent is something Mario Cristobal recognized in Herbert before he even arrived in Eugene.

"Just watching the arm talent, and then getting to know him during our time at Oregon, some of the things he would do at practice were incredible," the Miami Hurricanes head coach told Colin Cowherd on "The Herd." And I don't think people give him enough credit for taking the reins of a team that was starting to rebuild. They'd been 4-8, and then two years later are 12-2, win the [Pac-12] conference and the Rose Bowl, while [Herbert] threw for 3,500 yards and 29-plus TDs, with very little interceptions.

"We really impressed upon every [NFL] team that he's the best we've ever been around, and the right team picked him with the right system, right coach and right players. He's just getting started."

Cristobal realized Herbert was special before he stepped on campus

University of Miami head coach Mario Cristobal joins Colin Cowherd to discuss his latest move Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert's time at the University of Oregon.

Herbert won the 2020 Rose Bowl MVP after rushing for three TDs in a 28-27 win over Wisconsin. He won the Len Casanova Award (Oregon's team award for its best freshman) in 2016, the team's offensive MVP in 2017, and the William V. Campbell trophy for academic excellence in 2019. 

Herbert threw for 10,541 yards, 95 TDs and 23 INTs during his four-year tenure with the Ducks. 


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