Junior college recruiting has picked up this year for the Oregon State football team.

The Beavers signed cornerback Steven Nelson and defensive tackle Siale Hautau, two three-star athletes, on Wednesday, the first day of the midterm transfer signing period. Both are expected to enroll in January for the winter term.

OSU also received a verbal commitment from Kyle Peko, a defensive tackle from Norwalk, Calif., this week. He’s a 6-foot-2, 295-pound three-star athlete out of Cerritos College.

“We are excited about both kids who signed,” coach Mike Riley said. “When we recruit junior college guys we anticipate them to be competitors to start right now.”

Nelson, a 6-0, 185-pounder from Warner Robins, Ga., runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds and played for College of the Sequoias in California.

He had nine scholarship offers from schools including Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas Tech. Nelson will be counted on to replenish depth at corner with three scholarship seniors leaving.

Nelson intercepted five passes and broke up 10 others in his two-year junior college career. He has three years to play two seasons with the Beavers.

247 Sports ranks him as the 16th-best junior college prospect in the nation and second-best cornerback.

“We saw him early on film and coach (Rod) Perry did a good job recruiting him,” Riley said.

Hautau, a 6-foot, 315-pounder out of Snow College in Utah, had offers from BYU, Hawaii and Utah State.

A 2007 graduate of Skyline High in Salt Lake City, Hautau walked on briefly at Weber State and was listed as a sophomore this season.

“This guy is a really, really good fit for what we need and what we do defensively,” Riley said.

With Peko’s commitment, there are three junior college players in the class.

Peko had offers from at least 15 schools, and was leaning toward Michigan State until he visited the Beavers last weekend.

He played two seasons at Cerritos and has three years to play two seasons with the Beavers. He had 85 tackles and 11 sacks in his junior college career.

247 Sports ranks him as the 89th junior college prospect in the nation, 12th-best defensive tackle in the nation and 23rd JC recruit in California.

Hautau and Peko address the need in the interior defensive line with seniors Andrew Seumalo and Castro Masaniai moving on after this season.

With Nelson and Hautau signed, there are 12 other players in OSU’s recruiting class who have committed and plan to sign their letters of intent during the regular signing period in February.

“It’s a good start to our recruiting class,” Riley said.

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

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