I have read a lot of people comment on the disappointment with the current Beaver recruiting class. In the excitement of all the hires by the Beavers, of bringing Andersen and his A-Team staff in, many in Beaver Nation began to reach for the stars, at least with their hopes and dreams, in recruiting.
I think that is healthy. I think that is the right thing to do and I think it is how the current coaches at Oregon State want it. They don’t want to be satisfied with getting just certain types of players or getting players that were not good enough out of high school to go to their real school of choice. The Beaver coaches want to win championships, they want to make OSU the same type of destination that other small college town schools like Penn State, TCU and Wisconsin are. So there will never be a point of being satisfied with recruiting until OSU is the top school in the country. Those are the goals we want and those are the goals that our coaches will strive for every year.
But those hopes and dreams need to be injected with a bit of reality and a healthy dose of process. As the coaches have said to the players time and again “Respect the Process” it is time for the Beaver fans to do the same. While some may look at this (currently) 73rd ranked class by Rivals and feel like it is a disappointment, they miss out on a few very key facts:
1. The coaches have established, instantly, a connection with the State of Florida that Oregon State has never enjoyed. Since 2009, OSU has had 1 recruit from Florida (the great Bud Delva). Currently, Oregon State has three commits from Florida, with a potential for two more. While it is nice to get a few guys from one state or to count on one or two a year, a talent rich place like Florida can provide three or four quality players a year if the coaches have the right connections and are willing to work hard at it. Currently the Beavers have four committed, which would put more players from Florida on the same team than at any time I can remember.
2. In five weeks, our coaches have added 10 players to the commitment list or program. That is the best five week span in over a decade. They have a few days left to get a few more names, and most of the players out there are ones we want. While this class may not be entirely full by letter of intent day, the coaches have made sure to keep the players they really want and to bring in players that fit their system.
3. The coaches have also been spending this first month recruiting for the future. They have turned away players that were not going to fit their system and have used each trip to each state to establish relationships and give offers to people that fit where they want to go as a program. This means that a lot of 2016 and 2017 (and even some 2018) offers have gone out. These offers and recruits are not just good players, but good players in areas that Oregon State wants to pull kids from. Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville Florida, Salt Lake City Utah, Hawaiian and Tongan islands. Texas and California, all hotbeds of football talent.
4. They are building a program, not just hobbling together a class. We can want a better class, and I think as fans we can expect one in the future. What Andersen is doing right now is building a program the right way. From the ground up he is sacrificing this class in numbers to make sure that they get the right players, the right fit and the right recruiting relationships to do what all the coaches and fans ultimately want. To win a championship.
While I love Mike Riley and appreciate all he did, I think that there is merit to starting over and starting the right way, even if it means you take a small hit to recruiting this year. While the class this year may be close to the class OSU was going to have anyway under Riley, it is being built in a way that works better for a long term goal. Fast and aggressive on defense, fast and smart on offense.
The latest pickup for the Beavers, Deltran Sands, is a perfect example. Not the big name we all want, but he is a player that plays smart, plays the right way, has some speed, has some moves and comes from a great football school and great football area. He is going to come in, work his butt off and get a shot to be productive for us. He may not be flashy, but he is solid and he comes from an area that the Beavers want to pull kids from. Like De La Salle in California, St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida is the school you want to be solid with. This is not just a solid player pickup, but a solid foundational pick up and gets the name Oregon State and Gary Andersen into the minds of coaches and players in that area. We may not pull the top dogs all the time out of SEC territory, but we sure as heck can get some great players that fit what we want to do.
Ultimately, I have no worries about this class because they DIDN’T go out and treat the class like a fire sale. They set up their system, aggressively pursued the guys they wanted, built relationships with future guys they want and created their recruiting map. One that I think we will see helps take OSU to the next step. Maybe not next year, but in two or three years, Oregon State should be on their way to being a championship team. I have not been this excited or confident in a long time.
Respect the Process. Go Beavers!