Over the past several weeks, the Oregon State coaching staff has been extending offers to players from across the nation. While they have been dipping into some college football's hotbeds of recruiting, yesterday they looked more locally as in-state athlete M.J. Cunningham received an offer to play at Oregon State. Cunningham, who played at Portland's Franklin High School last year, recently transferred to Madison High School.
"Coach Clune came by yesterday to my school to visit with my coaches and I got to see him for a minute. He went back down to Corvallis and got to show Coach Andersen my film today and he loved it. Coach Clune gave me a call after that and said that they wanted to offer and that Coach Andersen would be in touch in the next couple days. I have a great relationship with Coach Clune, I got to go down to their junior day but there were so many kids there so I didn't get to spend as much time with the coaches as I wanted. Then yesterday getting spend a little time with Coach Clune where he could actually see me and talk with me 1-on-1, I think that led to me getting an offer," Cunningham told BeaverBlitz. He continued, "It means a lot for Oregon State to take notice of me and be my first in-state offer. I really haven't talked to Oregon at all, so it really means a lot that they offered. Houston Lillard (from Team Lillard) has a great connection with the OSU staff and I have an ok relationship with Jaydon Grant, so I know a little bit about Oregon State."
Measuring in at 6'3" tall and nearly 230 pounds, the Beavers offered Cunningham as a linebacker. Last year at Franklin, Cunningham showed off his versatility as injuries forced him into playing quarterback for the Quakers. Since transferring to Madison, and playing for Team Lillard on the 7on7 circuit, he has been able to focus on just playing linebacker. The Beavers aren't the only college program that has taken notice of his potential on the defensive side of the ball. Utah, Hawaii and Utah State have already told Cunningham that he could be a part of their program as well. But it seems that M.J. isn't in any rush to make a decision.
"The offer from Oregon State doesn't really change anything right now in that I still want to enjoy the process and take my visits and talk with all the different schools. I'm not one of those kids that had offers as a freshman or sophomore, so I still want to be able check out everything thoroughly because I'm about to make a big decision within the next five months and I want to take it slowly and make sure it's the best for me."
As his recruitment moves forward, Cunningham is looking for the school that is going to show him the most love and where he can develop the best relationship with his future coaches. Distance won't be a factor for him but rather what the depth chart in front of him looks like as he indicated that would be one of the more important aspects in choosing a school.
Up next for Cunningham is the May Madness invitation camp in Bellevue this weekend followed by the NW Collegiate Showcase at Madison High School. He also is planning on trekking down to Oakland to participate in the last Opening regional camp in hopes of getting an invite to the prestigious Opening Finals at Nike headquarters. In the next couple weeks he also hopes to sit down with his family and Coach Johnson from Madison, to start setting up some unofficial visits to see some of the schools that are recruiting him.