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Oregon State Football off to a slow start on the recruiting trail

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Jonathan Smith and his staff have a lot of work to do to secure a 2018 recruiting class that will lead to on-the-field improvements.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The early signing period is winding to a close, but for all intents and purposes recruits that were planning on signing early have already done so. A good chunk of high school athletes are still weighing their options or want to take official visits and have chosen to wait until February to sign their National Letter of Intent, but a majority of Power 5 recruits have already signed.

The Good News

Oregon State has already nabbed 11 early signees. Jonathan Smith and company were able to (for the most part) hold together the previous regimes recruiting class. It features some intriguing talent in Jake Dukart, Isaiah Smalls and others. Coming off an extremely disappointing season amidst a head coaching change and staff overhaul the fact that they were able to keep this group together is admirable.

The Bad News

As of this writing, 247 Sports ranks Oregon State’s recruiting class as the 87th-best recruiting class in the nation. Worse than every other Power 5 school and behind the likes of Nevada, Bowling Green and Southern Miss. Of course, that ranking is slightly misleading and favors large classes (quantity over quality debate). Oregon State has signed just 11 recruits while many of the names ahead of them on the list have signed anywhere from 15-to-20 recruits.

The Beavers average recruit comes in with a ranking of 83.59 which narrowly edges out Kansas and Boston College for worst Power 5 school average player ranking. For reference, Ohio State’s average recruit pulled in a 93.97 ranking (Oregon’s was an 88.12). Oregon State has never been a powerhouse in recruiting the top high school athletes, but the early results from the 2018 class are especially bleak.

Of course, recruiting rankings and star rankings aren’t the best measures of an individuals future performance. It’s incredibly difficult to predict how 17/18 year-old kids are going to progress, grow and be motivated. But recruiting rankings matter and are one of the best measures of a football programs future. I won’t get to off topic and start arguing in favor of the star system but in my humble opinion recruiting rankings, while imperfect can’t be passively dismissed as they often are.

Despite the relatively low recruiting rankings, the bigger story for Oregon State football was the way they completely botched their recruitment of in-state recruits. Gary Andersen and the previous staff shoulder most of the blame here; but the 2018 class for the state of Oregon was unusually talented and the Beavers recruiting efforts should have received a huge boost because of it.

Instead Oregon State whiffed on the state’s top talent and didn’t even make the top-5 for five star prospect (and nation’s top athlete), Talanoa Hufanga, despite the fact that he is literally from Corvallis. The Beavers are still said to be a ‘dark horse’ candidate for his services, but I’m hesitant to get my hopes up to say the least. It’s more likely he ends up in California, at UCLA or USC.

The recruitment of Cole Turner was another stain on the previous staff’s resume. I don’t know all the details of his recruitment but the long and athletic TE/WR would have had a huge impact at Oregon State and should have been a guy the staff zoned in on early. They essentially gave him the cold shoulder though and botched his recruiting efforts multiple times. Cole Turner signed with Nevada on Wednesday and hasn’t looked back.

Oregon State is expected to sign at least 20 recruits for the 2018 class though and will have an opportunity to drastically increase their recruiting ranking. Given some time, Jonathan Smith and his staff with will undoubtedly add some recruits that will excite Beaver Nation, but for now fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach to the 2018 recruiting class.