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Morning Orange Juice

  • Wide Receiver Chris Johnson has joined the football program from Grossmont College in California. The 6-1 180-pound wide receiver will enter the program with three years of eligibility remaining.   He made 15 receptions for 312 yards and four touchdowns in seven games last season at Grossmont, helping the team to the California state title. Read more here.
  • More talk regarding Pat Casey and Notre Dame has been rising today. Another great article, this time in the Oregonian, talks about Casey and all of his recruits that want to play for him. With, I might add, a beautiful title:
The Oregonian :: Casey is Oregon State Baseball
by Joe Freeman

Members of the incoming Oregon State baseball recruiting class expressed a mixture of dismay, anxiety and understanding Wednesday after learning that coach Pat Casey is contemplating a move to Notre Dame.

Tyrell Poggemeyer, a Class 3A first-team all-state performer from Pleasant Hill, did not learn about Casey's interest in Notre Dame until Wednesday -- when he was interviewed for this story -- and was stunned by the news.

"I'm just really blown away right now," Poggemeyer said. "I don't really know what to think yet. The only thing I can say is that I hope he stays. I really wanted to play for him."

College coaches sell teenagers on the virtues of their universities and campuses during the recruiting process, but when a recruit signs, he's picking a coach as much as anything.

Blake Keitzman, the Class 4A player of the year from Roseburg, said Casey has watched him play since he was a freshman in high school and the two have developed a close relationship over the years. Oregon State was appealing to Keitzman, in part, because of this relationship.

"It's kind of scary," Keitzman said. "(Casey) is a really good coach and he's a big reason why I decided to go to Oregon State."

At the same time, Keitzman remained level headed about the prospect of Casey departing for South Bend, Ind., and said he wasn't surprised that the suddenly-popular coach would explore other options.

"After you lead a team to a national championship, it's only natural that other schools would want to look at you," Keitzman said. "You're on top of the mountain and other schools want to be on top."

Casey, who was expected to be offered the Notre Dame job, said before he makes any decision, he will discuss the situation with Oregon State, a discussion that will happen today.

Casey has steered Oregon State to back-to-back Pacific-10 Conference titles and this season to its first national championship, compiling a 391-253 record during 12 seasons as coach.

He built the Beavers into a national power by luring Oregon's most talented high school players to Corvallis. Sixty percent of Oregon State's roster last season featured players from Oregon, including Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year Cole Gillespie (West Linn) and standout pitchers Dallas Buck (Newberg), Jonah Nickerson (Oregon City) and Kevin Gunderson (Central Catholic).

Gillespie, Buck, Nickerson and Gunderson were among nine Oregon State players selected in the June amateur draft, but among those with eligibility remaining, only Gillespie (Milwaukee Brewers) has signed with a professional team.

Casey kept the Oregon connection alive last fall, signing four Oregonians during the early signing period and adding infielder Joe Pratt from Central this spring.

"I know how tough it is and I understand exactly what these guys are going through," Pearce said. "When you first find out, there's a lot of worry and concern. But after I thought about it a little, I realized that Notre Dame would bring in a great coach. The bottom line is that the place I wanted to go was Notre Dame and I'll be happy whoever coaches there."

"I can't blame him for interviewing; I mean I'm hearing rumors about how much money he's being offered and I would explore that, too," said Joey Wong, a first-team all-state infielder from Sprague. "But coach Casey is Oregon State baseball. I would be upset if he didn't come back."

"We'll take you back to a national championship if you want to go," Keitzman said. "You recruited us the same way you recruited Buck and Nickerson and those guys. We can turn out the same way with your help."

Click the link above in the story title to read the entire story.

Go Beavers!