Will Beavs look to hard-nosed LB?

GARY ANDERSEN IS primarily focused on the 2015 recruiting class, true, but he and his staff are also already at work on the 2016 prospects, the group that will signify his first full year of recruiting to Oregon State. And there's a '16 middle linebacker that might be right up Andersen's alley.

His height (to this point) has kept the big schools from jumping in with both feet, but A.J. Hotchkins is about to blow up, says RCC's defensive coordinator. “We have a middle linebacker named A.J. Hotchkins… he is going to have to come back for a second year,” James Kuk, Riverside DC and recruiting coordinator says. “He didn’t get a lot of looks this year because he’s a 5-10, 235-pound linebacker. 'Too small,' according to everybody else.

"But here’s a kid… we did our homework on, he started every game for us… and he was just voted All-American by the JC coaches in the state... And I'd say he's more like 5-11, 235.”

Hotchkins, originally out of Tigard, Ore., pledged Wyoming coming out of high school before going the JC route. This past season as a freshman, he led Riverside with 101 tackles, was named first-team all-conference, all-state and the SCFCA Defensive MVP in addition to the All-America designation.

Former coach Mike Riley long referred to Oregon State as Linebacker U. Many of the best linebackers who have worn the black and orange didn't have prototypical height.

And Hotchkins’ tape is impressive.

“I think a lot of times we get caught up in the height, weight and 40 times,” says Kuk. “He’s a product of the Northwest and so many of those kids get overlooked… I know he’s going to blow up.”

Kuk said Hotchkins has seen a flurry of 1-AA offers of late.

“The big ones just don’t know about him yet,” said Kuk. “Everyone is looking at that 5-10 (5-11), and it’s just a matter of getting enough eyes on him.

“He was my defensive captain, the heart and soul of my defense, made all my calls.. He’s got a bright future.”

Hotchkins has previously been reported as a member of the 2015 class but Kuk says he’ll return to Riverside this coming year and be a member of the 2016 class, which would give him 3-to-play-2 starting in 2016.

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