Andre Bodden came to Oregon State with simple goal of being successful.
When he enrolled at OSU, he was anticipating that success would come in the classroom, in the College of Business as a business and finance major—not on the gridiron.
In fact, even being on the team came as surprise to to 6-foot 181, Carson, Calif. native. With offers from University of Pacific and Willamette University, Bodden had switched his focus from the playing field to academics.
“I was just focusing on school,” Bodden said. “Coming towards the end, I thought, I feel like if I get the opportunity, why not take the chance that not too many people get. So I figured wherever I go I can give them my best shot.”
Bodden’s shot came right before fall camp in 2015 when former wide receiver coach Brent Brennan gave him a call to join the team.
“It was a big surprise for me to have them to give the opportunity to play here,” Bodden said.
When dealing with players who enter the program late, Andersen is looking for potential. Possibly a player who over time can work his way onto the field. Bodden fits the bill, and was praised by his head coach for “not counting his reps” but rather “making his reps count.”
“We always take young men here who we think have the opportunity to grow and and give them a spot to get on the field as time goes on,” said head coach Gary Andersen.
Nicknamed “Sir-Mix-A Lot” by his former receiver coach for his quick feet and ability create separation off the line of scrimmage, Bodden has made an impression on first-year wide receiver coach Jason Phillips. Not just for play on the field, but the way approaches the game.
“I didn’t know he was a walk-on player,” Phillips said. “All I know is he’s a guy who sits in my meetings and pays attention and takes notes. He comes out here and takes the drills to the field, he takes the notes from the classroom to the field, he applies those things and is having success.”
“If you watch his releases, he has one of the best releases on the team,” said senior wide receiver Jordan Villamin. “(Bodden) is playing great, playing absolutely fantastic.”
Bodden was a key contributor on special teams during Oregon State’s 4-8 2016 season. In the Civil War, Bodden recovered a first-quarter fumble on a muffed punt inside OSU territory. It was an important play on a stage he never anticipated being on.
“That was a great experience,” Bodden said recalling the 34-24 Civil War victory. “I never thought that anything like that would come to me that early in my career. I was just thrown in on special team to prove that I’m tough and can make plays. Fortunately I got a chance to make one and made it.”
Entering his redshirt sophomore season, Bodden is trying to take advantage of the extra reps he is getting during spring ball with the injuries to multiple receivers
In Saturday’s scrimmage, Bodden beat freshman corner Christian Wallace on a post route that resulted in a 45-yard touchdown, highlighting his afternoon where he finished with three catches for 78 yards.
“I applaud him for all the hard he’s been doing,” Villamin added. “He’s doing great things against scholarship guys. I’m just as happy for his success as anyone on this receiver corp.”
The success that Bodden is having this spring may come as a surprise to some, but Villamin has been anticipating it for several years.
“I’ve been waiting for this to come,” Villamin said. “I’ve known he’s had it in him since he first got here, he was just a little raw coming out of high school. But now, he’s starting to figure everything out.”
“We saw potential there,” Andersen said. “ He continues to get better and better, he gets stronger he gets more physical he becomes more of a student of the game...he lives his life the right way."