While most of the heavy lifting was done in December, the Oregon State football program did add 12 players to the 2019 recruiting class on Wednesday.
“A lot of work over a long period of time,” second-year coach Jonathan Smith said. “I’m really excited about the additions that we’ve got for today. I think we’re addressing some immediate needs that we’ve got.”
Signing letters of intent were safely Akili Arnold, offensive tackle Jacob Ferenczi, offensive guard Thomas Sio and defensive end James Rawls.
The Beavers also added eight players as preferred walk-ons, including Crescent Valley High’s Cam Sanders, listed as a tight end. Sanders’ brother Tanner also played football and basketball at Oregon State while father Scott was a member of the football program.
The other preferred walk-ons are Dylan Black (long snapper), Cade Brownholtz (outside linebacker), Jackson Chryst (quarterback), Jackson Cloyd (inside linebacker), Kade Hustler (linebacker), Tanner Miller (offensive guard) and Nick Suing (offensive tackle).
Along with Sanders, Suing (Kennedy) and Hustler (Southridge) are from Oregon, as well as Ferenczi (North Bend).
Arnold is a 6-foot, 185-pound three-star safety from Mission Viejo High and a teammate of Jojo Forest, who signed in December. He played in the 2019 Polynesian Bowl and was credited with 32 tackles with seven interceptions for 176 yards in his senior campaign.
Ferenczi is a 6-5, 280-pounder from North Bend and was a three-star and a top-15 player in Oregon, according to 247 Sports.
Sio is a 6-4, 330-pounder from Anchorage who was named the top player in Alaska by 247Sports.
Rawls is a 6-3, 265-pounder from Mira Costa/Fullerton College who has four years to play three. He had 32 total tackles in 10 games, including 14.5 for a loss with 5.5 sacks. His uncle, Lee Davis, played for the Beavers.
As he mentioned in December, when the Beavers signed 15 members and added four transfers, Smith said he didn’t want to sacrifice the long-term stability and growth of the program for quick fixes.
“So we’ve got a lot of players that have multiple years to play so we’ve got some players in here we feel will help us immediately,” Smith said. “That was important to us as we went.”
That brings the total to 15 high school signees to go with four JC transfers and four other transfers — they are still waiting on Arizona graduate transfer Nathan Eldridge to be official — for a total of 23 signees plus the eight preferred walk ons, a number that Smith said could grow.
With the early signing period now in December and the majority of players using that time to sign, the recruiting timetable has changed.
Instead of trying to close on so many recruits, coaches now use the month of January to fill out their class as well as to get a chance to take a look at some of the younger recruits for the future.
“There’s still work for the current year in January but a lot of it is focused what will now be 2020,” Smith said.
The Beavers will open spring practices on March 5 and go three times a week for two weeks before taking two weeks off for finals and spring break. They will then reconvene and go three more weeks, culminating with the spring game on April 20.
“I feel really pleased with where we’re headed, we’ve got a clear vision of what it looks liked, Smith said. “Again it’s a group effort between players and coaches so couldn’t be more excited to continue that.”
Jake Luton received a sixth year of eligibility in January and will be back to compete for the starting quarterback position.
Luton, who missed the last eight games of 2017 and battled through an ankle injury last season, has completed 223 passes for 359 yards for 2,513 yards and 14 touchdowns to go with eight interceptions in his time at OSU.
Also in the running will be Tristan Gebbia, who was on campus and ran the scout team last season after transferring in from Nebraska.
“They’re both two competitive kids,” Smith said. “I actually think the competition will improve both of them just going through it. I think it’s important to have depth at every position and I think we’ve created it at that position. Depth leads to competition and competition leads to better play.”