Civil War is easily the most anticipated, and arguably most important, game on the Beavers schedule every year. It's the opportunity to play against the Beavers' most heated rival, our neighbors just 47 miles to the south, the University of Oregon.
Perhaps no other member of Gary Andersen's 2017 recruiting class understands this more that Mesa Community College's Dionte Sykes. His father played at Oregon State from 1996 until 1999 and his mother also attended OSU. So Dionte is well versed on what this rivalry means to Beaver Nation and he is excited to get to experience it all for himself this weekend while on his official visit to Corvallis.
"With my Dad playing up there, I literally grew up in a family divided as we had some other family members that went to Oregon, there's a lot of tension between the two. I don't know all the specifics to it, I think Oregon holds a little edge in the records but I know every game is fierce," Sykes told BeaverBlitz. "I've been to one before but it doesn't really count as I was just a baby then. So this will be my first real experience at one."
The other strong connection that Sykes has with the Oregon State program is that he played his high school ball at Chandler High School in Arizona alongside current Beavers' quarterback Darrell Garretson. Garretson, who Sykes labels as his best friend, is one half of the reason why Sykes was so high on Oregon State. The other half is the relationship that he has developed with Offensive Coordinator Kevin McGiven.
"Darrell was my quarterback my junior year of high school and he's actually the reason why I transferred to Chandler as I originally attended Basha (another Chandler area high school). He's literally been one of my best friends for like 6 years now, he's like a brother. With him being a quarterback up there, it was really one of the big reasons why I committed so quickly."
Sykes continued, "The other reason is that Coach McGiven has been recruiting me since he was at Utah State. In fact he was trying to get me to flip like the whole time I was committed to UCLA and the San Diego State, just working trying to get me to come to Utah State. Fortunately, we kept a good relationship throughout my whole recruiting process. With him changing schools and me going the JUCO route, we stayed in touch the whole time. So he had a lot to do with my decision as well."
With so many connections to the program, it's looking more like a homecoming for Dionte than a trip.
"With both of my parents being alumnus from Oregon State, I pretty much already know everything about Corvallis. I was even born at Good Samaritan before we all moved to LA. But what I'm looking forward to is getting to know Coach Andersen a bit better and seeing some of the things that have changed around there."
Dionte had a stellar season at Mesa this fall, hauling in 35 passes for 375 yards and 9 touchdowns. His play earned him 1st-team All-Conference and 1st-team All-American accolades. His plan now is to sign in February and arrive in Corvallis this summer.
BeaverBlitz will follow up with Sykes to get his thoughts on the Civil War game and his official visit as it concludes on Sunday.