Press Conference Transcript

With 26 Letter of Intent's filed away in the Valley Football Center head coach Mike Riley addressed the media for the first time to talk about the recruiting process and his recruits.

MR: Good afternoon everybody, good to see you here again. We are here to announce our guys that have signed letters of intent for next year.

I guess nobody ever can say anything negative in a recruiting announcement, so it goes without saying that we feel good about this group. A lot of work goes into recruiting and a lot of people are involved all throughout the university. We have had great involvement from our president Ed Ray and from our athletic director Bob DeCarolis and of course all the stuff that goes on from last year right to this point. So it is a big, big day. It is a culmination of tons of hours, a lot of film watching, and a lot of evaluation. We feel that we have hit some spots for the immediate and obviously for the development of the future.

I thought there was a real good class last year and that class will be joined by another good group of football players so we are really excited about this.

Q1: Areas of interest for you, that you wanted to get accomplished. You felt we had to have immediate help here.

MR: First thing that comes to mind is that we are very, very pleased about Sam Paulecu, the punter. We’ve got some young punters in our program, but nobody that’s been proven at all. This guy through the evaluation of many, many guys was the guy that we selected as the best. And we went through quite a process in recruiting Sam. So that is a guy that will be of some immediate impact.

The other guys that are listed from junior college, all will have great opportunities to compete early. Keith Ellison is an outstanding linebacker. Chris Miller is going to be a guy that will be very competitive at offensive tackle for us. And Kevin Swanigan is a receiver that we feel can add to our core right now and compete to play for us early.

Amongst those things up in the high school group, I think that if I was to rate a group by position. I think our linebacking group is exciting. Our secondary group is very good. We have got another category of athletes. Nate Johns would be included that is good. The rest of the guys will have their niche and fit in. I think very well competitively on our team and maybe early and maybe after redshirting, who knows.

Q2: It has been awhile since you have gone through this process. With everything out there on the Internet now, was it different recruiting this year?

MR: I think that is a great point. That has changed life in recruiting for sure. It is pretty well publicized. I think the thing that is probably negative about it is that is has almost tripled the phone load of the player. Probably something needs to be done about that. I don’t know what or how, I don’t have any answer for that. I have noticed that as a major factor. They get calls a lot from coaches then you add all the other stuff that’s to it. It’s become a pretty interesting phenomenon really.

Q3: The three players from New Orleans. Could you tell us a little bit about that? Does that have anything to do with your stay there or Charlie Camps roots there?

MR: It has more to do with Charlie Camp’s background that anything. Charlie grew up in New Orleans. He visited there in May and went back this year. Through his past growing up there and also through his past in recruiting has established some good resources down there. That is a big, big factor to get in the door.

We had these kids visit late. We had all evaluated them on film. Were really pleased with that. Within a coaching staff there are different ways other than just the areas on the West Coast that you might be able to improve your team with. I know we are really pleased to sign these guys. We are also hopeful of what it might bring to the future there.

We got Stadford Brown out of Washington D.C. only because of Lee Hull’s involvement of recruiting back in that area. I think those are good things. You have to be very conscious of the time you are spending back in those areas because you want it to pay some dividends. You don’t want to make trips all the way back there and never come up with anything. Up to this point it has been very rewarding.

Q4 (follow up to Q3): How much time do you spend? Is it more than it used to be? Do you have coaches like Charlie in New Oreleans designated to various areas in the country where perhaps a team from the West Coast wouldn’t of had 15 years ago?

MR: Probably a little more expansive recruiting than 15 years ago. If we are going to do that, there has to be some connection of some kind. You can’t just show up in Texas and start recruiting and think you are going to get very far. You could make something happened, but you would have to take a lot of time there.

These are two guys in particular that had real backgrounds in these two areas – recruiting backgrounds – therefore it paid dividends for us. I don’t think you can be hap hazardous in this or not have some kind of connection going in.

Q5: Two Oregonian kids on the list, they’re both are from Jesuit, Mike Jones and Zach Tarver. Can you talk about them?

MB: We went on these guys early. We liked the program and what they were doing in the program. We feel they both have a real nice upside at what they can do at Oregon State. I am glad they are coming. I think it will be a big, big deal for us to have them here. I think Zach has a ton of potential as a wide receiver. Mike Jones has been a very, very productive pass and will possibly play a number of roles at Oregon State.


Q6: A lot of kids can play on both sides of the ball. How much does that help?

MR: There is something about that as far as the positions they’ve played. The old deal about being a football player overplays everything. Mike Jones is an example of that he has been linebacker, a runner, he can block, and he has nice size. He is a football player.

Nate Johns is another great example. He was a 1,000 yard rusher and 1,000 yard passer. You watch his film and he intercepts balls and blocks kicks and returns kicks. He is a football player. He will play here and do some things for this team. I don’t know exactly what yet, but he will. The best predictor of that is the fact that he has been a producer. The best predictor of production is pass production. That is why we like guys like that, the versatility.

Q7: Can you share a little bit about what scheduling LSU means? How good is the schedule this year with a trip to Boise and LSU this year?

MR: It’s going to be a good schedule. I think that this scheduling played a role in the recruiting process because the rumor was out there and then the announcement was good timing. I think it exciting for our program, our fans, and our team to play the best team in the country. I am really looking forward to it. I think our team is excited about. I think it something we can all use as a kickoff for this offseason.

Q8: Five offensive lineman, can you project them as guards, tackles or centers?

MR: If you looked at Jon Ioane, that is one I started with because I came to him first. I think that he is really a good athlete. Probably athletic enough to be a polar if you wanted to play him at guard. He has played on the edge and played tight end. Right now, this program is guard heavy and not so deep at tackle.

Levitre is a guard. Adam Speer is a guard or center, but we might try him outside first. Tevita Thompson is forsure a tackle for sure, he is a great looking kid. Chris Miller is going to be an offensive tackle.

Q9: I see Will Price. I know height and weight are always suspect, but 250?

MR: We saw him and like him as a linebacker, so that is what we recruited him as. He is a very good football player. One of the very first guys last spring that we identified and offered a scholarship to. He made an early commitment to another school and then reconsidered after making a visit down there. People have talked about him at another position, but he will start out here as a backer. That linebacking group is a really good group.

Q10: Do you anticipate bringing some people in next winter/grey shirting some guys you though you were going to bring in February?

MR: I can’t mention any names, but that will probably happen in some fashion, yes.

Q11: Can you talk about Patrick Fuller and his chances to play as a freshman?

MR: He has been a tremendously productive player. No doubt about that. He really looks the part. He is a great looking kid, nice sized kid. His production has been outstanding. I have seen him practice basketball and he looks athletic and powerful and quick and fast I am excited about him. He is definitely a very good get for us right. We will see how it progresses, but he can play a factor for us somewhere pretty soon.

Q12: One recruiting service has you guys #24 in the country for your class. That is pretty rare for this time of year at OSU. Can you comment on how your class is so highly ranked?

MR: I feel good about that. We used to never get on the first page of the rankings. I would rather be here for sure. It definitely shows the growth of the program over the last six years and the respect for the program out there. We recruited a lot of good players the last time, and hopefully now this time. It is good for our program to be recognized it that top 25 for sure.

Q13: Is Paulescu going to punt and place kick?

MR: He is going to punt and kick-off for sure. We will see about place kicking, he will probably give that a go. His first deal is as a punter, than 1A he is a kickoff guy.

Q14: Can you talk about the differences from your first time around?

MR: No matter where you are there are different challenges in recruiting. Everybody competes. The first time around we were much more junior college oriented, half the class probably, there was a reason for that.

We were changing midstream from the wishbone, so receivers, that is where we hit hard, along with offensive lineman. The recruiting now has been more focused on high school players and selective on junior college. There is no doubt about it you can get in more doors than six years ago.


Q15: What is your philosophy on lets say a Lamar Herron that originally committed elsewhere and then changes his mind and comes to Oregon State? What do you do philosophically when a kid does verbal to another school? Does it vary case to case?

MR: That is a great point. You like them for yourself, early commitments, you feel good about it. I told out staff, we had a number of early commitments, we just recruit those guys harder because that almost makes those guys a target for some people.

Sometimes guys are not ready. They get pressured into situations they don’t want to be in or they do not know the exact situation they are going into. I don’t fault the kid for that. We have had the same thing happen to us. All of a sudden the situation is different, the kid does feel quite the same fit. We got noticed from a former teammate that plays for us about Lamar. We called the coach and went through the process from there. There are a bunch of different ways that you find out. There truly are guys, hard committed. And there are some that feel pressured into a situation and really want more information.

Q16: Do you have a couple of spots left for guys like Eric Anderson or Usher or a Derrick Dogget like last year?

MR: Their still out there. We don’t know who they are right now, but there are guys still out there that are Pac-10 players that will need a place to go. We definitely will continue to search those guys out. We will have room. We had a point where we wanted to be in we are just under it now.

Q17: Is it safe to assume that although there are no Las Vegas recruits on this list, the foothold still remains strong?

MR: We had some outstanding areas this year. Vegas is not dead to us. We did a nice job researching that area. There were a couple of deals there where we could have recruited hard, but academically didn’t fit at that time and maybe those rebound to us at some point.

It is not a total void as to what we saw as players do there or who we saw as players. It was not going to work this year. By now means is that going to slip away. We’ve got to get back hard into that area.

I want to do better in the Bay area next year, better in Washington next year, and better in L.A. Orange County was a great area for us. The San Bernardino area was very, very good. Sacramento was huge for us this year. We got our one guy every five years out of Montana and we hope this guy is as good as his cousin.

There are some outstanding spots and some areas where we have to start now to get back on and do well. The New Orleans deal, we will find that again. We have got to hit those area that have been good to Oregon State and get those guys back.

Q18: With injuries last year to the linebacking corp. Was that one reason why you went with six linebackers?

MR: Great question. You can’t have enough depth of good athletes because those guys are bigger athletes. They are also the stars on special teams. We did a bad job in that area last year, we have got to improve it. These athletes are the kind of guys that can improve those areas as they go through their four or five years.

This has become linebacker U, and I really believe that. A good linebacker will come out of here every year that will be drafted and this group will continue that.

Q19: Going into year two, how has the continuity helped you in recruiting?

MR: Being able to go into a high school as a representative of the university and that coach being able to trust you with what you are doing is big. A lot of our guys went back to the places they have been, just with a different color shirt. It is a lot easier when you do it over a consistent period of time that is longer lasting.

Here he took the opportunity to talk about the family atmosphere at Oregon State during the recruiting season with everyone helping out. “We don’t have many bright lights in Corvallis, but we have people. When the [players] meet real people involved in the school that is a big factor and we really appreciate it.”

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