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They say recruiting is the lifeblood of any college football program.

And in a lot of ways that is true. I mean, you have to have good players in order to win games.

That’s why coaches are constantly analyzing game film and scouring the country looking for players to fit their programs.

Fans, meanwhile, follow along as high school seniors make their choice as to what school will get their services.

Those players’ skills and attributes are dissected, analyzed and ranked with a star system, with five being the best.

When the now two signing periods are over, the recruiting service “experts” rank how each school did.

I will be honest, I’m not really sure how they determine it all and, quite honestly, I have never cared.

But because of these rankings, a lot of hand-wringing can take place for fans.

But what do these rankings really mean?

Not much at first and we never really actually know for a couple years.

We must wait to see how the players adjust and develop at the collegiate level, wait to see who actually gets on the field, and now, which ones will transfer when things don’t go as expected.

However, by most accounts, Oregon State’s class this year is not one to write home about.

According to 247Sports, the Beavers are ranked No. 68 based on the 19 high school and junior college transfers they signed — that does not include several highly touted transfers.

Rivals has the Beavers slightly better at No. 65.

Both services have Oregon State dead last in the Pac-12 Conference.

Second-year coach Jonathan Smith understands that stars and rankings do serve a purpose, but he is more concerned about his and his staff’s evaluation about the players they want to be a part of the program.

They want not only talented players, but also those who share the vision of helping get Oregon State back into contention for a bowl game and more.

Oregon State receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who will be a junior next season, said he is happy with what the coaching staff has been able to do as far as finding players who share that vision. He likes that several of the recent signees have the potential to provide an immediate impact.

“I just feel like there’s a lot of help that coach Smith and the staff is doing to kind of bring in some depth,” he said Wednesday.

Hodgins was a four-star recruit coming out of Berean Christian High School in Walnut Creek, California, and knows that you can’t always put all your eggs in that basket.

According to Hodgins, there were 15 wide receivers ranked ahead of him in the state of California in his class.

“And then half those dudes aren’t even playing football right now, half of them are kicked out of school,” he said. “The No. 1 wideout in my class isn’t even playing.

“There’s a lot of dudes I’ve surpassed way more yards, touchdowns and everything. So I feel like that’s just more hype than anything. Other schools can have all the hype but here we’re going to try to build.”

Now, I didn’t have the time to go back and verify all of what Hodgins said, but I agree with the point he was making — the class rankings and star ratings are nice but they don’t always equate to the next level.

According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, seven players on the Pac-12’s all-conference defense first team earned two or three stars as a high school senior.

So while natural talent and ability are important, so too is coaching and finding players who fit the system.

Oregon State’s recent lack of success on the field certainly hasn’t helped in attracting big-time players to want to come to Corvallis.

And in return that means class rankings that are less than impressive.

While many people judge coaches on where classes are ranked, I feel more emphasis should be placed on how the coaches develop the players they bring in.

Oregon State never has and probably never will be about glitz and glamor, instead choosing to focus on hard work and finding those diamonds in the rough.

That approach may not lead to top recruiting classes, let’s hope that it leads to wins on the field.

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Steve Gress is the sports editor for the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald. He can be reached at steve.gress@lee.net or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stevegress19.

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Sports Editor

Sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald