OSU football: Beavers happy with latest recruiting class

2013-02-07T00:00:00Z OSU football: Beavers happy with latest recruiting classBy CLIFF KIRKPATRICK, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Coaches always sing the praises of their recruiting classes, but Oregon State football coach Mike Riley was downright giddy about the class of athletes he signed on Wednesday.

The Beavers added 21 recruits on the first day of the signing period. That is in addition to three that had already signed and one other who may join later.

Some of the athletes are expected to make an immediate impact while others are there to develop over time.

What had Riley excited was not only their athletic ability and potential, but their personalities. Finding the right fit of a person to come to Corvallis is just as important as the number of stars by their name.

“I’ve been impressed with the character of the players and families,” Riley said. “I feel real good about it. I have truly been impressed with the talent and the people as I went home to home visiting with them. It’s pretty neat, and you feel very privileged to be associated with these people.”

The talent is pretty good, too. The Beavers are tied with conference rival Utah with the No. 37-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to Rivals.com.

That’s the second-best ranking in OSU history, behind the 31st ranking received in 2004.

“Our coaches have done an outstanding job recognizing talent,” Riley said. “I think this class is strong overall. It’s all about evaluation and where they fit in.”

National champion Alabama is ranked first. Pac-12 teams ahead of the Beavers are No. 9 UCLA, No. 13 USC, No. 18 Washington, No. 21 Oregon, No. 30 California, No. 32 Arizona State and No. 36 Arizona.

No. 48 Washington State, No. 62 Stanford and No. 67 Colorado are behind them.

The Beavers signed one four-star athlete — based on a five-star rating sytem — with defensive back Dashon Hunt of Westlake Village, Calif. The rest are mostly three- and two-star athletes.

“We don’t put a lot of stock in it,” Riley said of the rating system. “We try to rely on our abilities and process. We look at tons of players and we select from there. Any player has gone through a lot of eyes. When you do that you feel good no matter what someone else sees.”

What Riley saw this year was the need for defensive linemen, so he signed three junior college defensive tackles, one JC end, and one end out of high school.

Five junior college players overall were signed. That’s a change for the Beavers who have relied on their ability to develop high school players in recent years.

“We thought we needed help immediately so we needed some mature guys who can enter in the competition right away,” Riley said. “When you recruit a junior college player you can liken it to an NFL team signing a free agent. When they do, they do it for a specific reason. JC guys have two years and they have to make a lot of headway quickly. We hope these five junior college players do make an impact right away and elevate the competition.”

The void left by cornerback Jordan Poyer was huge. That’s why Steven Nelson out of the College of Sequoias was signed.

Nelson and Hunt make for impressive cornerbacks, while Justin Strong and Brandon Arnold are fast and aggressive safeties.

“I think it’s one of our best defensive back classes ever,” Riley said. “One of the things I’m most pleased with is recruiting corners. We haven’t done that well. This year we did that.”

The Beavers found the bulk of their recruits in California with 11, but didn’t find any in the Northwest.

Four recruits came out of Texas, two from Hawaii and one each from Alaska, Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Georgia, Florida and American Samoa.

“We try and do an excellent job of recruiting our state,” Riley said. “There were about half a dozen guys who signed in the state, maybe more. And we recruited some of them. It could have been about our numbers and where we ranked them. We had to decide this is not going to be a good fit. It’s better to do that early than late.”

There were times when an Oregon and Washington player were committed to the Beavers but went to other teams.

“I don’t feel too bad about that because I know what we put into it,” Riley said. “We were able to cover our bases elsewhere. We may find more in Oregon next year.”

The Beavers have more recruits than openings at the moment. There are 18 scholarships available for the 24 newcomers.

Some of the players may greyshirt, delaying enrollment until the winter term, if the numbers don’t work out, Riley said.

Normal attrition on the roster is still to occur and some of the recruits are not academically eligible at the moment.

Riley wasn’t surprised by a player he expected to sign but didn’t. There were some nervous moments with four players wavering in their commitment the last time he talked, but they stayed with the Beavers.

“It’s a good class, and we’re excited about the character in the class,” Riley said. “And what drew to us first was their ability.”

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers Oregon State sports for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at cliff.kirkpatrick@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. Beav79
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    Beav79 - February 20, 2013 12:03 am
    You left out quite a few JC players that have been successful for the Beavers and Coach Riley: Dorian Smith, Joey LaRoque, Damola Adeniji, Lyle Moevao, Gerald Lee, Rudolf Fifita, Coye Francis (legal issues I know), Keith Ellison (was pretty good), Sam Paulescu, and Matt Moore (attended College of the Canyons). A few solid Professionals that left their mark at OSU although they were only here a few short years. And this year's JC class will do the same. Although, the 2013 OSU football team will return a lot of experience there were some huge needs for experienced players (CB/DT). And this year Riley and Co really addressed those needs in Steven Nelson (USC, UG, and other quality offers), Kyle Peko (15 + offers from programs from the Pac 12, Big 10, and Big 12), Edwin Delva (15 + offers from the SEC, Pac 12, Big 12, and Big 10), and DE Charlie Tua'au (Nebraska/ Hawaii).

    Sometimes kids take a few more years to develop or didn't have the proper guidence in HS to get their grades and test scores in order to make it past the NCAA clearing house to make it to a D-1 school. In a perfect world you want to pick up HS kids and have the time to develop them. But there are other times where you have a good team and by landing a few "ready-made" players at key positions that can make you a great team. I really think that this is the case this year and we will have a banner year.
  2. OSUSupporter
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    OSUSupporter - February 10, 2013 8:48 am
    I think signing 6 JC transfers is a sign of weakness by the Beavers. JC transfers look nice on the outside but in reality there is a reason they went to JC in the first place. Many were poor students and couldn't qualify for a 4 year school while others simply weren't recruited and offered a scholarship. Consequently, many JC transfers are damaged goods and have limited time to learn our system and contribute. Last year Riley signed 3, one who was too dumb to get into school, one who quit and another who holds the practice tackling bags for the real players. The year before Riley "scored" 4, and only one even showed up on the season ending depth chart (Fernando, listed as 3rd string). In 2010 we nabbed 3, and what happened to them? Well they are worth the weight of the paper they signed to come to OSU....nothing. Riley did sign one JC guy in 2009 that turned out to be in some circles an All American....but wait, he didn't qualify for admission (twice!) to OSU and Reggie Dunn went on to star at Utah. We have to go back to 2008 when we signed 6 more JC guys to find even ONE who contributed, and that was Stephen Paea who was a stud. So out of 17 JC guys we have "recruited/signed" in the last 5 years only ONE turned out to be a starter who contributed. That's a spectacular failure on Riley's part to first identify guys who can even qualify academically let alone judge talent enough to see if they are worthy players. I say going JC is a waste of time and we don't do a good job of it anyway.

    So 73GradMike, don't get your hopes up with all these "great" JC guys, Riley's track record for picking and developing them has been a miserable failure. Your memory of 2001 and Ericksons JCs are a distant memory and no reflection on the current coaching staff. We have always signed many JC guys every year and have shown we don't do it well.

    On the other hand, Riley did okay this year with the HS recruits. It's sad that none of the 7 or so Oregon HS kids we offered and recruited wanted to come to OSU. It's sickening to see talent go elsewhere, particularly to UO, but come on, can't Riley convince kids we are better than Boise State, BYU and worst of all, SMU??? That's a slap in the face and it doesn't go unnoticed by the next crop of HS recruits coming up. We need to get our fair share of in state kids next year!
  3. 73GradMike
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    73GradMike - February 07, 2013 10:24 pm
    I'm happy to see that Riley is willing to test whether JC transfers will work out for OSU (...again... see 2001 Fiesta Bowl). It's a year later than I first suggested, but it's good to see an attempt to fill crucial roster holes with JC players. I sure hope they turn out to be good additions. I understand the risk involved in having a player in the Beaver sytem for only two years. Hopefully that is offset by bringing in players who are two years more mature than high school recruits.

    I trust that we would sign Oregon and Washington players if the players we wanted had not signed with other schools. It's hard to get top talent to come to good ol' Corvallis. A couple seasons with good bowl appearances should help that. At least we have a fair number of Oregon players on the current roster.

    Althought it's disappointing to find us ranked behind seven other Pac-12 recruiting classes, it's somewhat encouraging to see us ranked 37th in the country. Given Riley's record of developing talent, I anticipate some nice bowl games as long as key injuries do not interfere.
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