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Jonathan Smith

Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith signed the first part of his first recruiting class on Wednesday. The Beavers landed 11 players.

Jonathan Smith and the Oregon State football program landed 11 players on Wednesday, the first day of the new early signing period.

The Beavers spread around the positions, with two offensive tackles and two linebackers the only spots with more than one player.

Smith and the staff that he's put together so far did not have a lot of time to go through the recruiting process after settling in at OSU.

"It was a whirlwind experience not just for myself the last three weeks but for these kids as well," Smith said. "It was an awesome opportunity for me to get around most of their families, not all of them, but most of their families. We had more than half of these guys come up on visits the last couple of weekends to talk about the vision moving forward and getting to know them."

Most of the players were already being recruited by the previous staff and Smith said those coaches did a good job of identifying athletes that would be potentially strong additions to OSU.

For the most part, Smith and his assistants had to come in and keep the players in the fold.

"It's about the right fit, the fit for the place, and a bunch of these guys were pretty knowledgeable about Oregon State before and it was fun sharing their experiences because I've sat in their seats," Smith said. "It was an exciting time."

Three of the players are from Oregon. Defensive end Bradley Bickler is from Beaverton, offensive tackle Keishon Dawkins is from Wilsonville and quarterback Jake Dukart hails from Lake Oswego.

The Beavers also went to Snoqualmie, Washington, to get wide receiver Jesiah Irish.

Hitting the Pacific Northwest will be a priority moving forward, as well as the rest of the Pac-12 footprint and Hawaii.

"There's a bunch of players in the Northwest that can play," Smith said. "I've been around and recruiting this area for the last 15 years. I go back to a lot of my experience from recruiting (and) being a player here, there's a bunch of good players that we won a bunch of games with here at Oregon State and we want to continue that. And so that's going to be a starting point going forward."

Dukart is a first step toward filling out the quarterback group.

Offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said he likes having QBs that are athletic and can get down the field, but also are accurate passers.

Dukart (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) passed for 2,656 yards with 27 touchdowns with five interceptions this past season. He was able to take an official visit to OSU after Smith was hired.

Smith knows Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury well and was able to talk to him about Dukart.

"I think the guy is a really good athlete (and) a good quarterback and really have watched a lot of film on him the last three weeks, and I think he's a great fit for our place," Smith said.

Bickler (6-7, 240) was a three-star recruit who played basketball as well as football. Dawkins (6-5, 265) has a good frame to develop as an offensive lineman and also played basketball. Dawkins had a three-star ranking from 247Sports.

Irish (6-0, 170) had 34 catches for 880 yards and scored 14 touchdowns as a junior.

Defensive tackle Isaac Hodgins (6-0, 288) had a three-star ranking and will enroll in OSU in January. He had 282 tackles, 70 for loss, and 31.5 sacks in his career at Berean Christian High in Walnut Creek, California. His brother is OSU receiver Isaiah Hodgins.

Tight end Isaiah Smalls will also be an early arrival at OSU. Smalls (6-4, 230) was a three-star recruit and was ranked as the No. 49 tight end nationally.

Linebacker Craig Francois (6-2, 225) started for three years at Cathedral High in Pasadena, California. He had 13.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hurries as a senior. The Beavers also landed linebacker Isaiah Tufaga (6-0, 205), who was ranked as the No. 4 player in Hawaii.

Offensive tackle Jake Levengood (6-4, 260) out of Vacaville, California, was a three-year starter and is a top wrestler in the 285-pound class.

DeShon Wilson of Hayward, California, is the lone cornerback recruit in the class so far. At 6-0, 190, Wilson has the potential to fit in as another bigger corner or could play safety. He has a three-star ranking.

The Beavers also signed running back Kase Rogers out of Houston. He also played wide receiver and competed in track at Lamar High.

Smith said the Beavers will sign roughly the same amount of players in February to round out the class.

"Just not knowing the whole picture and going through a three-week process, we weren't going to just try to fill the whole class on this first signing day," Smith said. "There's a bunch of players still available out in January and we're going to identify those guys, build relationships with those guys and sign some more in February."

Smith on Nall

Running back Ryan Nall has been considering his options for next season. He can finish out his senior season at OSU or possibly play elsewhere as a graduate transfer. Or he can test the NFL waters.

"We've had multiple conversations with Ryan and he's weighing some options on some different things," Smith said. "I don't know exactly where he's at right now with it. I was able to sit down with him and his parents and explain a vision for this next year for him. He's done some great things for Oregon State, for sure. And it's in his court in regards to making a decision."

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