Jonathan Smith and the rest of the Beavers coaching staff were sitting on a pair of commitments from four-star defensive end Omar Speights and three-star wide receiver Trevon Clark on the evening of June 10th before the coaches were hit with some more good news from some top priority recruits.
One of these highly coveted prospects was 6-foot-1, 213-pound 247sports three-star linebacker Michael Erhart from Chaminade high school (West Hills, California) who announced his commitment to the Beavers over offers from Air Force, Army, Columbia, Cornell, Navy, UC Davis, Utah State, Yale and others.
“I arrived in Portland on June 8th with my Mom, Dad, and younger brother Matt who’s 13. Michael Doctor picked us up and we had a chance to ask him what its like to be a student athlete at OSU. This was our first visit ever to the state. We heard it was very green and gets lots of rain. Before visiting, I did a lot of research on Corvallis. I was looking forward to the clean air and seeing lots of green trees and checking out the rivers. When I arrived, it was truly better than I expected. I loved the environment and college town feel. It rained on and off during our visit – which was cool as I enjoyed the weather they were getting. The OSU baseball team was in a tight game with Minnesota over the weekend and so the atmosphere was exciting. I wanted to be a part of a school with such great spirit and support.”
As things were getting started on the tour, Erhart and his family started to feel more and more comfortable around the coaches, current players, professors, academic advisors and the city of Corvallis.
“Friday was the day that I was able to get the campus tour. My tour guide for the weekend was Coach Michael Doctor. He was a great player at OSU and I really enjoyed spending time with him during the visit. First thing I toured was the School of Business. I feel that I would like to major in business for either Finance or Marketing. After this, we got to walk around the campus and see the dorms. Later in the evening we had dinner in Reser Stadium Lodge which was amazing. The food was incredible and I then got to spend some time after with my host, Timmy Hernandez. Saturday was more focused athletics, we started out having breakfast in the Reser Stadium Club, we then watched a video on the history of the football program. After the video we met with the medical staff and strength and conditioning coaches, I was very impressed with their facilities.”
While on the tour of Oregon State with his family, Erhart got to spend quality time with a few key coaches that have inspired him both on and off the football field and have helped him grow as a person.
“My family and I got to meet with Coach Smith for a personal meeting. This was the first time we could sit down and be alone with him. We had a great talk and then I went down to the locker room to take photos in uniforms. After the photoshoot, we had lunch at the player’s lounge and Coach Doctor was able to walk me around and show me where they have their positional meetings. After this, my family and I had a meeting with Coach Bray. Leading up to this point, I felt that Corvallis is the place to be and that I can really see myself going to school here and playing for Coach Smith. Coach Bray gave me an overview on what I would be doing and how I would fit in their defense. After the meeting I asked my family to give me some time with Coach Bray alone. During this time, I told Coach Bray that I wanted to commit to OSU. He was so fired up and immediately took me to go see Coach Smith. We all sat down and I told Coach Smith the good news. The whole coaching staff welcomed me and were all so excited for me. I spent more time with Coach Bray but every night at dinner, I was seated near a different coach to talk to. Coach Tibesar and I had a great connection and Coach Smith sat with me and my family on the last night. During this time, I felt that I definitely made the right decision. We then went bowling, had dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, and I hung out with Timmy and his teammates after.”
A lasting impression was made Erhart during this weekend that only help reassure him that he was making the right decision to commit to the Beavers.
“Overall, I was impressed with the town of Corvallis as well as the school. The people all seem so genuine and welcoming. We spent time with our student athlete hosts Timmy Hernandez and Mason Moran and they introduced us to some teammates who all seemed down to earth and cool. We had a tour of the freshman dorms as well. They were really nice and clean and had lots of space. The energy was very electric since the baseball playoffs were going on, there were a lot of people in town and in our hotel. The whole vibe on campus was exciting. When we went up to the stadium and looked out over Corvallis, I immediately knew this is where I wanted to be. I felt a true connection with the staff and Coach Smith and especially Coach Bray. This was a big factor in my decision to commit. In the last few months, we’ve been to many schools to check out the vibe and feel on campus and OSU definitely felt like it was the best college town in the PAC-12. I specifically liked the people that we got to interact with anywhere we went both on staff and in town as well as the culture on campus, the cleanliness and organization of the school layout. There is history at Corvallis that was very enticing and it felt like what I want my college experience to be for 4-5 years.”
Conversations with Coach Smith and Coach Bray opened Erhart’s eyes as to what kind of coaches he wants to go to battle for as he was given the blueprint for the future of Beaver football.
“I was able to spend lots of time with Coach Smith. I had meetings with just he and I in his office as well as time with my family and Coach Smith. It was very inspiring to hear about his plans for the team and how he plans to go about building the best team in the PAC 12. His focus on defense impressed me and I liked the fact that he played at OSU and has a true connection to the school and town.I feel that the conversations with each coach went very well. I got a lot closer with Coach Bray and really enjoyed spending time with him. My conversations with Coach Smith and Coach Tibesar also went very well. Coach Bray had us review film and pointed out specific drills that will help with my development. He likes my speed and athleticism. They recruited me as an inside linebacker but I have the ability to be used at other positions as I move around a lot.”
While on campus over the weekend, Erhart was also to interact with current student athletes that gave him the truth about the new vibe around Corvallis and how excited players are to be apart of a revitalization of Oregon State football under Coach Smith.
“My student athlete hosts were Timmy Hernandez and Mason Moran. They introduced me to their friends both nights after dinner and we got to talk about the current team and their experiences at OSU so far. I really appreciated the chance to have these conversations as it gave me a different perspective of what it’s like to be a student athlete at Oregon State to help make decision clear.”
With the guidance and support from his family, Erhart highlights multiple different important factors when pondering the idea of committing to Coach Smith and the Beavers.
“When talking about things that I was looking for in a college, my family and I discussed things like distance from home, open depth chart or immediate playing time as a freshman, what conference each school is in that I was considering, what kind of defense each school likes to run when looking at different schools. I had many options to consider at many great schools but the chance to play in the PAC-12 was a big factor in my decision. I have played football since I was 5 years old and have always wanted to play for a big school in a big time college town that fit my academic needs as well. The chance to compete for a starting position early in my collegiate career was also a big factor in my decision as I believe I can make an impact early on and contribute to the success of the program. It only takes 2 ½ hours to fly to Portland from Los Angeles so my family can see me play which was very important to all of us as well as playing USC and UCLA. More importantly, I felt a strong connection and a good vibe from the coaching staff. I feel like they respect my decisions and input and are truly interested in what I have to say as a person and as a football player. It was ultimately the people at OSU and the coaching staff that made me want to commit. I feel I can grow with them and be an impact player early on. I believe they will give me that opportunity. Coach Smith’s dedication to the team and his desire to build the best team ever is something I want to be a part of.”
Erhart went through the spring competing in 7-on-7 tournaments with his Chaminade teammates to continue to develop chemistry and go up against other high level competition from all over the country before he heads into his senior season.
“I currently train 3-4 times per week outside of the normal school work outs and lifting. I work out with my linebacker Coach on Sundays and my DB Coach Thursday evenings. I want to be stronger and in the best shape ever and am working hard toward that goal. Academically, I want to finish strong and maintain a high GPA heading into my freshman season at OSU. I want to help mentor and grow the younger team players at Chaminade so we have a well developed offense and defense and are able to compete with our tough D1 schedule. I am hoping we can win another Mission League Championship.”
Another factor that played a role when contemplating the idea of committing to Oregon State was the idea of playing alongside Erhart’s best friend at the next level in Corvallis.
“(Ryan) Franke and I are best friends. We live fairly close to each other and always hang out. We’ve always talked about playing together in college. Before our visit, we never talked about committing together but on Sunday evening we both felt the same about OSU and it just worked out for us. Im excited to be able to play with him because I feel like we can make an immediate impact on defense.”
Erhart has already been in contact with other members of the 2019 class that are already committed to Oregon State and said that they have made him feel welcomed and accepted with the sense of brotherhood being a constant message among the seven committed prospects. Erhart has already started on peer recruiting other players from California and will help the coaching staff sell the program in the best way possible.
“I’ve talked to a few of the commits already like Kelsen Hennessy and Anthony Gould and they’ve welcomed me to the family. I’ve reached out to many uncommitted recruits already and I’m excited for what’s to come and what we could build with this 2019 class. I’ve reached out to guys who’ve been offered by Oregon State recently like Nathan Lamb and Giles Jackson. My message to them is simple. Take a visit to Oregon State and really get to experience the atmosphere in Corvallis. I also suggest that they maintain a good relationship with the OSU coaches and stay in contact with them often.”
With a decision out of the way Erhart assures Beaver fans that he is 100% locked in with Oregon State and will be someone that wants to be as involved as possible for the remainder of his time in high school before he gets to campus.
“I’ve talked to my family and we’ll definitely come back on our bye week and see a home game so I can experience the game day atmosphere with all of the coaches, players, and fans. I would love to be back in Corvallis as often as possible.”
Erhart’s Hudl highlights:
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