The amount of commitment to planning a trip from Corvallis to Orlando is a bit more extensive than planning a trip from Corvallis to Seattle. This distance is an easy way to explain the sparse recruiting Oregon State has seen from its farthest south-east neighbor. From 2003 until 2014, Oregon State had exactly three recruits from the state of Florida. Yvenson Bernard, Sabby Piscitelli from Boca Raton, FL and Jamaal Jackson, from Orlando, were the last players from the Sunshine State.
Enter Gary Andersen and his staff in 2015 and the Beavers end up with four Florida players in their first recruiting class. Not to be outdone, 2016’s class saw four more Florida players sign letters of intent to play at Oregon State. This year’s class, though just a little over half full already has two players who hail from Florida and OSU could end up with more in the future.
What is the nature of this new mojo that the Beavers have found in Florida? It starts with two coaches that wanted to follow Gary Andersen to Oregon State. Telly Lockette is the personable former high school coach from Florida that has used his ties there and the respect the other coaches have for him to get in the door with this talent rich state. Lockette’s Miami Central teams went 60-10 in this time there, twice being voted as one of the two best teams in the nation (2012 ranked number 1 and 2010 ranked number 2)
Lockette oversaw 70 high school players that went on to get football scholarships and his list of NFL players from his Miami Central days include the likes of Devonte Freeman, Kevin Pamphile, Lavonte Davis, Sean Spence, and Kenbrell Thompkins. Coach Lockette also spent three years coaching running backs at Central Florida. His ties run deep within the state and it can be seen in Oregon State's recruiting efforts. Coach Lockette is a favorite of many of the recruits the Beavers have gotten.
Not to be outdone, coach Derrick Odum has also left his mark on Florida by helping be the second jab of the one two punch combo that has had so much success in Florida. The former SMU and Utah secondary coach has leveraged his own skills and reputation as a premium secondary coach to be successful on the recruiting trail as well.
In the 2017 class alone Odum has been key in landing running back Isaiah Miller from Baldwin, FL. In 2016 he led the recruitment of Kee Whetzel and Artavis Pierce. Coach Odom relates well with players and has been able to convince 18 year olds that 3000 miles away is not to far for four to five years of their life as they play for the Beavers.
The Andersen regime has already proven that they are not business as usual at Oregon State. One needs only check out the last three classes from this staff and notice all the FL’s next to the player’s hometown to realize that this is not just a one year fluke, but a consistent pipeline from one of the three most talent rich states in America.