Recruiting is the lifeblood of every college program and every sport. Coaching is important, but having the athletes to preform the tasks the coaches require is imperative. For the goals Coach Andersen and his staff have, it is not good enough to have a very good 22 players that can start both ways, but to have the quality of depth that they can handle the ebbs and flows of your typical season. For last year’s Civil War, Oregon State only had 57 players available. That means they had less than a full 3 deep on both sides of the ball. As we saw in the secondary and on defensive line, as injuries piled up, the options of who to put out there got less and less clear.
Coach Andersen has been very clear on the need for Oregon State to be bigger, faster and stronger than they were the day he stepped on campus, and part of that means getting in players that have those same qualities. So did the Beavers do it? Is this class a step in the right direction for a team that is trying to put a two win season as far in the rear view mirror as possible? Lets see:
Offensively, Oregon State had fewer needs. While they will graduate 6 offensive linemen this year, other positions are less dire. Barring early defections for the draft of other reasons, the Beavers will lose the a fore mentioned linemen, 2 Tight Ends, 2 receivers, 1 Running Back and no QB’s. So what did we bring in?
Offensive Line: 1
Over the next two years we lose 9 linemen. Next year will be a big year for recruiting them. This year landing Gus Lavaka was a great get. He is huge (6’4, 330lbs) and is returning from his Mission after signing his LOI to Hawaii in 2012. A true offensive tackle, GUs will be a good player for the Beavers.
Candy Report Grade: C+
“I give this a C+ because I wanted two linemen in this class, but Gus is a solid talent who should be a good player for us over the next four or five years.”
While we only lose two receivers this year, after 2017 we will lose 5 more. At least. So this was a position of need for sure. Penn is a huge target (6’5″ 195lbs)from perennial powerhouse Bellevue High School (Bellvue, WA) who was vastly under-recruited for as talented as he is. Bradford is another solid player in the mold of Sammie Stroughter, who hails from Oregon City, OR. JC Transfer Timmy Hernandez was being recruited as a defensive back from most schools, but the Beavers like the 6’1″ 195lb receiver from Pima Community College in Arizona. Kee Whetzel was a zero hour commitment from Florida who is another big target (6’3″ 184lbs) for the Beaver passers.
Candy Report Grade: B
“This is a position of need, and while they signed a few guys that I think are underrated, there is no big splash signing either. And Hernandez will have a smaller impact numbers wise because he is a transfer. Good class that will surprise people. “
Since Coach Andersen got to Corvallis, this position needed the biggest overhaul. Not that the players we had were not good, but they were pro style QB’s brought in to throw the ball in the pocket. With the defection of Luke Del Rio, Kyle Kempt, Tanner Sanders, Nick Mitchell and recently Seth Collins (and the transition of Brent VanderVeen to Tight End), OSU now has just three QB’s on their whole team. That includes current pick Mason Moran. So for me, that is kind of a tough spot to be in. Not only that, the three you have: Garrettson, McMaryion and Moran are all quite different from each other.
Candy Report Grade: C+
“I think Mason is a steal and a great find, but I think they needed more QB’s than this. Last year, we used all three QB’s on the roster. The year before Utah State used four, including Garrettson. I think the coaches got a great one in Moran, but missed on not taking a second QB. “
With the graduation of Storm Woods and Shane Wallen, the Beavers had a moderate need for running back. Senior Chris Brown, Sophomore Ryan Nall, Junior Damien Haskins and Sophomore Deltron Sands all saw action last year at running back. As did receiver Paul Lucas. So with four or five players getting time last year, and a class break down that has the Beavers losing no more than 1 running back a year, the need was not great.
Fortunately, the coaches were able to keep the Florida pipeline alive by getting another running back from Auburndale, FL in Artavis Pierce. Artavis is a quick runner and someone that can make an impact running inside or outside or getting the ball in space. In addition, they added JC transfer Kyle White. The Orange Coast C.C. running back is a big body (6′ 200lbs) that can be used in a lot of different situations.
Candy Report Grade: B+
“While this position was not a huge area of need, this class not only adds some depth and talent, but also keeps alive key recruiting areas that will pay off down the road. In the grand scheme of recruiting, this was probably the best job of recruiting by the offensive coaches because of the combination of talent, need and regional influence.”
Tight End: 1
Next year, the Beavers will say goodbye to standout Tight End Caleb Smith and former QB Brent VanderVeen. With Ryan Nall moving to Running Back, that really only leaves Tuli Wily-Matagi, Noah Togiai and DaJuan Gant to play next to Riley Sharp. So again, I think that the coaches may have wanted two players here. Especially since Sharp (6’5″ 215lbs), a superb athlete with great hands, will need to bulk up quite a bit to be an effective tight end for the Beavers. I like Sharp a lot, but feel like we are again forcing next year to be a big tight end recruiting year for the Beavers.
Candy Report Grade: C+
“Sharp is underrated just because of his hands. If he can add 30 pounds he could be a beast for the Beavers by his Junior year. Unfortunately, when he is a junior, he will be one of two TE on the team, so it really puts pressure on the coaches to add some quality bodies in the next two years. Especially if they want to run double tight formations.”
When you see the grades, you might think I am down on this class. I most definitely am not. I think the players they got are very high quality. I think Kee Whetzel would be a high 3* if he was in Oregon or Washington, but coming from Florida he gets lost in the shuffle. I think Moran is a legit Pac-12 starter from an amazing program and I think that we are going to be shocked by what Gus Lavaka brings. I really think that the coaches did super well recruiting receiver, but I think they set themselves up to be under a lot of offensive pressure next year in recruiting. They will need to sign two tight ends, two quarterbacks and four offensive linemen (or more). Which seems doable, but it means that we are going to see saw offensive classes and defensive classes. I prefer balance across the board, but that is just me.
For fit, I give this class a B+. For completeness and filling the needs they have for the future, I give it a D. So my overall offensive grade for this class would be a C, which is pretty good when you consider the coaches felt the need to fill defensive needs so strongly that they recruited 2x as many defenders and offensive players. The ceiling for this class was never going to be an A because even filled with 4* players, the numbers were still going to be concerning. I like the guys we got and I think we will have some house hold names come from this group of players that signed their Letters of Intent to play for the Beavers.
Go Beavs (PRO)!