Poyer living the dream with OSU football team

2009-11-04T21:00:00Z Poyer living the dream with OSU football teamBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times

There are times when Jordan Poyer chuckles to himself about how far he has come and how his life changed in the last six months.

You likely know of him as a gunner on punt coverage for the Oregon State football team. He's the speedy guy running down the sideline who has made some spectacular plays, such as big hits or being so fast that he downs balls by catching them instead of the opposition's return man.

Well, get use to it. He's a true freshman with vast potential the coaches have been impressed with since he stepped on campus.

And to think, he was a projected greyshirt. If that plan stayed in effect, he would still be in Astoria waiting for a scholarship to come available in January.

"I always think about that," Poyer said. "I wasn't even going to come here, too. It was here or Idaho, and then I committed here expecting to greyshirt, hoping I would get to come here this fall."

Poyer came out of Astoria High, a small 4A school in the Cowapa League, not a hotbed for talent.

That's why he stood out initially, being a man among boys. The lack of competition was also why he was ignored by recruiters.

Upon further review, it was his talent that carried him. He was Oregon's offensive and defensive player of the year as a quarterback and safety last season, all-state in baseball three times and the Cowapa League basketball player of the year.

"It was a good move by us to recruit Jordan," coach Mike Riley said. "And it was one of those deals it's a smaller classification. It turned out that this guy is just a really good player as you watch him on film."

The Beavers over recruited last year, and told Poyer they would greyshirt him, which meant he would delay enrollment until January.

If players fell out of the recruiting class or left school Poyer would be one of the first to be brought in. Chances were he would redshirt anyway because he wouldn't be ready physically.

The reasoning on the delay was that he's an Oregon product who was a big OSU fan. His grandfather, Lynn Baxter, lettered for the Beavers in basketball in 1962 and 1964.

And maybe he might not be ready physically.

As it turned out the Beavers were wrong about him being ready.

"Coming from Oregon, especially from a small school, it's a big thing to be playing," Poyer said. "A lot of people are looking forward to seeing me play. So I'm happy to be here."

Poyer got the call during the summer that he would be part of the roster. He had just come off winning a gold medal with Team USA in an international junior football tournament, so he was in football shape.

"I came in the fall, and I started playing really well," Poyer said. "And now playing as a true freshman is crazy. Not a lot of people get to do that."

Coaches were impressed with his speed from the onset. Then the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder showed he could pick up the defensive system quickly.

His physical ability convinced Riley to play him on various special teams. He covers punts and kickoffs, blocks or rushes on punt returns and is James Rodgers' backup as a kickoff returner.

Poyer has two returns this season, including a 70-yarder at Southern California on Oct. 24.

"He has great intentions, he works hard and is smart," Riley said. "He has a lot of sports savvy. He bought into being a special teams player, and impacted our team with speed and physical ability."

Poyer has yet to get in a game as a safety, but he was close at the end of the Stanford contest.

Riley says he's ready to play in the games as a safety, but during the first half of the season he was behind others with more experience. He's been the No. 4 safety behind the main three the last three weeks because of injuries to others.

"I don't think anyone would blink if Jordan Poyer went in at safety," Riley said.

More of Poyer will be seen in the spring at Goss Stadium. He plans to play outfield for the OSU baseball team.

"I've talked with coach (Marty) Lees and he says I'll be a big part of the program this year," Poyer said. "He can see me in the outfield running around catching fly balls. He's seen my speed. I'm excited to see how that works out."

Poyer hasn't played baseball since the spring, but hopes to get back in the swing of the game after the football regular season.

How that impacts spring football hasn't been figured out, yet. If all things stay the same on the football team Poyer won't be in line for a starting job next year. More practice would help him earn playing time as a safety.

"I got my gear, and I got my glove and I'm working it in a little bit," Poyer said. "Football and baseball are my passions. It's going to be hard when that time comes to give up one."

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