There were no surprises on signing day for the Oregon State football program.
No late wavering or decommits.
That was just fine with coach Mike Riley.
“The beauty of today is there were no surprises,” Riley said. “Because what you expect coming in is the 25 guys that you have committed, that they’ll all just sign and everything will be smooth and that’s really what happened.”
The Beavers signed 29 players, but transfers Luke Del Rio (Alabama) and Baker Pritchard (BYU) and junior college players Bobby Keenan and Kyle Peko do not count in the 2014 class.
Riley said the 25th spot was filled on Tuesday.
“We kind of waited on one guy and didn’t get it and then boom, the other guy called and made his commitment,” Riley said.
Teams are not allowed to sign more players than 25, so there’s no leeway when trying to hit that number.
Smooth sailing on signing day means Riley won’t have to scramble to fill out his class.
“You try to fill it and you’re 50-50 on whether you’re making a good decision or not,” Riley said. “Those late choices like that, many times they fail. That’s my experience with it and it’s not good. That’s why no surprises is a good thing.”
There were no four- or five-star recruits in the class, but Riley did land 18 three-star players according to Scout.com, 17 according to Rivals.com.
Xavier Hawkins is a two-star recruit at receiver, but the 5-foot-8, 175-pound speedster out of Knoxville, Tenn., has the makings of a good fly sweep runner.
The Beavers beefed up the defensive line depth by signing seven players, including Peko, 6-foot-4, 300-pound Kalani Vakameilalo out of Kapolei, Hawaii and JC end Luke Hollingsworth (6-3, 260).
“Kalani is probably one of the guys most ready physically to step in and compete,” Riley said.
Vakameilalo was one of three Hawaiian players to sign. Fitou Fisiiahi, a 6-2, 240-pound athlete and Lamone Williams, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive end.
Riley said Kammy Delp (6-3, 310), who is listed as an offensive lineman, could wind up on defense for the Beavers.
In addition to Delp, the Beavers signed four high school offensive linemen and Keenan (6-5, 280) from American River in Sacramento. Riley said he expects Keenan to be in the mix this fall.
The quarterback commits are interesting.
Marcus McMaryion ran a similar offense to Oregon State in high school, so he’s used to putting the ball in the air quite a bit.
Unlike most OSU quarterback recruits, McMaryion is a dual threat at the position. He can hurt the defense by running with the football.
“This is a terrifically gifted, intelligent young man,” Riley said. “This guy’s got some stuff, so I’m excited about what he brings to Oregon State that might be a hair different than we’ve had in the past.”
Make no mistake, McMaryion has shown the skills to run OSU’s offense. He finished with 6,136 passing yards with 71 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his high school career.
“The first thing we want him to do is learn what we’re doing and learn how to make the throws on time and be accurate with those throws and get a chemistry going with our team and work on our skill set,” Riley said.
“And then whatever we can develop with him after that, that we might have for him specifically because of what he can do athletically, we’ll see that as it comes.”
If McMaryion lands on the Beavers’ scout team, his abilities to move in and out of the pocket could provide immense help to the defense as they prepare to face athletic quarterbacks.
Nick Mitchell, out of Snoqualmie, Wash., is another pocket passer who can run.
Mitchell’s 40-yard dash time is listed at a pretty quick 4.5 seconds.
Mitchell’s brother Josh is an offensive lineman for the Beavers.
“Nick got the quarterback genes in the family,” Riley said. “He can really spin the ball. Throws a beautiful football.”
Neither Mitchell nor McMaryion changed their minds about the Beavers after hearing the news that offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf was leaving OSU for the New York Giants.
Crescent Valley’s Tanner Sanders could also get a shot at quarterback.
Sanders and Ryan Nall (6-3, 235) of Central Catholic are OSU’s two Oregon signees in the class.
Riley said Nall might have slipped under the radar of other programs.
“I think so,” Riley said. “I think we had the benefit last year of having him in one of our half-day camps and and when I saw him, I thought this guy is a no-brainer. He’s got great feet, he can run, he’s got nice size already to do what he’s going to do here, whether it’s to be an outside ’backer. He’s a perfect style H-back for us that might be more versatile than the H-backs that we’ve had in the past. He is an interesting guy and I’m very excited about him and his ability.”