Spring practice for the Oregon State football program began Monday, and continued the last couple of days, with little fanfare, and no fan visibility (practices are closed), while Beaver Nation has been preoccupied with the women's basketball program beating Baylor Monday night in the Elite 8, and yesterday's celebration of their return home.
Not that much would have come out of the early practices, which are initially limited to shells, and no-contact drills, though Saturday's open practice will begin to give us glimpses into what progress the Beavers have made since last season's 2-10 disaster.
We did learn of yet another now former Beaver who won't be a part of it, as Brent VanderVeen, formerly a quarterback and more lately a tight end, decided after Monday's practice to walk away from football, and his scholarship. VanderVeen, who has used his red-shirt, is on track to pick up his degree this spring.
But there is some significant news, though it too won't be anything we can actually see until summer.
Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen has signed a 4th quarterback, adding 6'3", 173 lb. Daniel Prieto, albeit as a preferred walk-on. Which means he'll have his work cut out for him to get onto the field, and is probably the "insurance policy" behind anoited transfer starter Darell Garretson and Marcus McMaryion. It could make it easier for Andersen to red-shirt freshman Mason Moran though, which would preserve a season of eligibility post Garretson.
Prieto, from Newbury Park, CA, threw for 3,687 yards and 47 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions, in 2014 at Newbury Park high.
Academic issues limited Prieto's options to an offer from FBS Jackson State and a preferred walk-on offer from New Mexico though, and Prieto spent last season at Compton CC, where he completed 161 of 288 passes, for 1,514 yards and 15 touchdowns, with just 3 interceptions, in just 8 games, while also working toward Pac-12 and Oregon State admitability.
"I went to Compton out of high school because I connected with the coaches, and I had a great opportunity to go in right away and play," Prieto explained. "Compton was an opportunity for me to make an impact on and off the field. It has all worked out great in the end, because I have learned a lot about myself, and I think I have grown as a man."
Prieto plans to attend the Spring Game as a spectator on April 16, and to participate in camp this summer.
"I told Coach (Kevin) McGiven that I am 100% committed to them. I will be going out to the spring game, and I plan to be out there in the summer, because that's when coach McGiven said he wanted me out there, so I can get in the weight program."
Given Oregon State started 3 different quarterbacks last season, its certainly possible we could see Prieto taking game snaps before the year is over.