As we begin to get into the full swing of the 2014 recruiting season, there are a few thoughts I have regarding Oregon State’s recruiting:
1. Defensive lineman is THE premium position in the nation. It is so hard to find quality defensive linemen. I’ve heard numerous recruiting experts evaluate some of the prominent defensive tackles in this year’s class, only to think that their prominence is due mostly to size and program history, rather than true talent and tenacity. While I won’t share premium content from sites I endorse on this blog, I will say that as a rule, you never know from class to class what you will find on the defensive line. Oregon State only had two true defensive tackle commitments make it to campus in the 2010 and 2011 classes, and one of them tragically passed away. Fred Thompson would have been a huge boost the last two years and in 2014, so his loss looms large on and off the field. So if you have a talent that you feel is Pac-12 caliber and could help the team, take that player — even if you have to offer a current commit a grayshirt opportunity to do it.
2. Offensive linemen are cool too. The best thing that Jim Harbaugh, and in turn David Shaw, have done is push for Stanford to be THE destination for top linemen. This move has paid off huge for the Cardinal, as getting other skill position players is much harder for them. So Stanford has become this grinding machine that will gladly run four yards a pop on you all day as long as the chains keep moving and one of those four yard runs results in a touchdown. Oregon State is smart to follow this blueprint, and they have had better than expected results the last few years.
Starting with the 2012 class of Seumalo, Andrews, Weinreich, Mitchell and Bays, OSU basically recruited a starting offensive line, all in the mid-three-star to low four-star range, a rarity in Corvallis for sure. But since then, they have pulled one or two gems in each class, having two true freshmen start in each of the last two seasons. This year, Drew Clarkson looks like a steal for an interior lineman, but if they can land Kolton Miller or Kaleb McGary (or both), this could be as good or better of a class than 2012. That would mean that OSU has gotten a legit, NFL prospect type lineman in each of the last three years. That is going to pay off huge in the future.
3. Addition by subtraction. I was very sad when Mike Hass completed his eligibility. I thought that was going to signal another down year because I didn’t know who else OSU was going to rely on for dependable yards. Then, in 2006, not only did a guy named Sammie Stroughter light up the scene, but other players such as Joe Newton, Brandon Powers, and Anthony Wheat-Brown all stepped up and provided Matt Moore a diverse set of options that were not easily covered (and the improved running of Yvenson Bernard). The loss of Cooks hurts, but there is talent on this roster with Bolden, Jarmon, Gilmore, Mullaney, and the slew of tight ends. This means that OSU needs to be sure and keep that depth coming. Having a single superstar receiver is amazing, but having a TJ Houshmenzadeh and Robert Prescott for every Chad Johnson wins championships.
The Beaver coaches should be able to leverage the success Brandin Cooks had this year, to try and get more complete recruiting classes. Get a slot receiver and a split end and make sure that you find some speed in there.