OSU National Signing Day Update

Oregon St. coach Mike Riley landed one of Oregon St.'s better recruiting classes ever today, but it could have been better.

National Letter of Intent signing day has come and gone, and has been mostly uneventful at Oregon St., with almost all the commits' letters arriving, and the unexpected merely stayed that way.

National Letter of Intent signing day is over, and at Oregon St., its been mostly uneventful. Almost all of the commitments have come through with their letters, and the Beavers really only had one unexpected pickup, when Charles Okonkwo, a 6'1", 170 lb. 3 star CB from Summit High in Fontana, CA, announced early this morning he was joining the Beavers' fall class.

Oregon St. beat out Fresno St., Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico St., Utah St., Army, and San Diego St.

All of the major battles have been decided with the exception of Edward Williams of Louisiana, who after having a special signing event could not decide between OSU, Texas Tech, and Miami. Some rumors have said that Williams has a strong interest in Oregon State, but his parents would prefer him to stay closer to home.

Of the verbal commitments, Oregon St. is without paperwork on only 3 star WR Jermel Walker, from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, and 2 star Pacific Islanders Manase Hungala, a DE from Hawaii, and Fred Launia, an OT from American Samoa.

The Beavers' biggest get is the only 4 star commit they received, Dashon Hunt from Westlake, CA, 1 of 5 DB in the class. Oregon St. did also land all 4 verbals from Texas, including a pair of big running backs in 225 lb. Lawrence Mattison, and Damien Haskins, who had 4.4 40 speed at 213 lbs., due in no small part to their Alamo Bowl trip.

The recruiting class, ranked #46 in the country by ESPN, covers a variety of needs, and includes 5 who plan to pursue Track and Field as well, proving the new T&F facility is paying dividends as well. Rivals.com ranks the recruiting group #37 nationally, the same as Utah's.

Head coach Mike Riley is accordingly pleased with the infusion of speed that results.

"Track is a great sign of if guys have speed or explosion," Riley said, "characteristics that play into the role of developing as a football player. Those all have to transfer eventually, but we like speed, and with our offense, we play multiple personnel groups, so it's always good to have good, athletic guys on the outside."

The passing game will welcome 4 new WRs, all looking to replace Markus Wheaton, and the quarterback position also got a boost, with former Oregonian Kyle Kempt, now of Massillon, Ohio on board.

Kempt, who moved from the Aloha school district before high school, is the only player with any in-state connections, though, and that's a concern, as Oregon St. has historically usually done a good job of picking up some in-state talent.

There's also a potential addition to Pat Casey's program, as one of the WRs, Hunter Jarmon from Waco, TX, also plans to play baseball for the Beavers.

But this year, the Beavers got beat out on every in-state battle, something that's at once surprising and concerning, especially coming off a 9-4 season, and the 5th best bowl trip in program history.

And while there wasn't a bumper crop of talent from Oregon, its not as though there weren't any prospects.

It's understandable that Oregon St. didn't really have a shot at 5 star RB Thomas Tyner from Aloha, who was always going to be a Duck.

And 4 straight BCS bowl appearances didn't hurt Oregon in their efforts to land C Doug Brenner from Jesuit in Portland, even with Chip Kelly's departure.

But its a head scratcher as to why Oregon St. didn't even offer Evan Voeller, from West Linn. It might have been a decision that it wasn't worth their time to take on Oregon for the 4 star OT, but that didn't stop Boise St., Arizona St., Washington, Washington St., California, Stanford, Nebraska, Purdue, UCLA, Utah, and Texas A&M from trying.

Losing out of state recruits can be more understandable, but the inability to put up a fence around the state could become a problem, considering the battles not involving the Ducks the Beavers lost.

Oregon St. went head to head with BYU for 4 star offensive lineman Brayden Kearsley, and despite the win in Provo last fall, Tyner's blocker at Aloha is going to be a Cougar.

The Beavers went up against Washington for 3 star OG Andrew Kirkland, also from Jesuit, and though he was far further down the Huskies' board, Kirkland is Seattle bound.

Oregon St. also lost out head to head with Boise St. for 3 star WR Tanner Shipley, and California for 3 star CB Johnny Ragin III, both from Wilsonville.

Arizona beat out the Beavers for 3 star MLB Derrick Turituri from Crater High in Central Point, and SMU snagged S Nate Halvorsen from Portland's Grant High.

Without even getting into whether some players that could have fit into Oregon St.'s model of coaching up local talent slipped through the cracks to Portland St. or other FCS destinations, that's still a half dozen in state FBS prospects, and 5 of them went to direct competition.

For reference, Oregon supplemented Tyner with 8 4 star recruits. Washington also landed 8 4 star prospects.

UCLA landed only 1 5 star recruit, but the Pac-12 South Division champs added 18 4 star prospects.

USC, despite being limited to fewer scholarships due to NCAA sanctions, and also problems due to this year's collapse from pre-season #1 to 7-6 and a Sun Bowl loss under embattled coach Lane Kiffen, still scored 5 5 star recruits, including the #1 rated QB and the #1 Safety in the country, and supported that with exclusively 4 star recruits.

Stanford, the defending Pac-12 North champions, picked up 2 4 star inside linebackers.

In addition to going "o-fer" their own state, Oregon St. did not lure anyone south from the state of Washington, which produced 31 FBS recruits at last count, something they have done with great success and regularity in recent years.

The Beavers certainly have their work cut out for them.

Of course we won't know if any of today's recruits, in Corvallis or elsewhere, work out for a while, but it looks like Oregon St.'s recruiting class is at once one of their better ones, and also one that could have been better, both immediately, and with respect to future hauls.

(BeaverBeliever12 also contributed to this article.)

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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