'He has the demeanor to be able to play there'

<b>OREGON STATE shored up the secondary recently, signing junior college athlete Rickey Herod out of Bakersfield College. The Beavs hope to soon have the 5-11, 195-pounder in Corvallis to take part for the remainder of spring drills. <br><br>BeaverFootball.com talked with Bakersfield head man Kevin Chudy to find out why the running back projects at cornerback for the Beavs, how he came to Oregon State and just what kind of a player the Beaver Faithful should be expecting.

After his first year at Bakersfield in 2003, Division I-A schools had certainly taken notice of Herod.

"After his freshman year, he had 25-30 schools sending him letters," said Chudy.

This past season, however, Herod was battling all year at less than full strength. He injured an ankle in fall camp and was about 80 percent to start the season. In the first game, Herod suffered a high ankle sprain on the opposite ankle. He would sit out the next four games.

Despite missing a third of the season, the Sacramento native still led Bakersfield in rushing with 672 yards on 137 carries with 6 touchdowns. Herod also starred on special teams, totaling 10 all-purpose touchdowns on the year. Chudy said if Herod would have been healthy, the Beavs may have faced stiffer competition for his services.

"Getting hurt and with most schools looking at him as a tailback, it was hard to evaluate him on film," said Chudy. "He was never really right all year. He's a kid that has tremendous perseverance and works extremely hard. He never missed a spring workout, was always a guy that was really committed to being the best he can be."

At running back, Herod was a versatile weapon for Bakersfield, adept at catching the ball out of the backfield and not shy about smacking someone in the mouth as a blocker. At tailback, Chudy said he was more a slasher, a quick back, rather than a burner. Still, Herod has speed in the 4.4 range in the 40.

But the Beavs are looking for Herod to compete on the other side of the ball -- at safety or cornerback.

"He's a good, good athlete," said Chudy. "He has great change of direction, important if you're going to play in the secondary. And the one thing about playing on an island is you have to have a lot of confidence -- and he's a very confident kid. He has the demeanor to be able to play there."

He also has the strength to support the run. Chudy said Herod has a bench of about 350 pounds and possesses a very strong lower body.

"He's really put together, a well built kid," said Chudy.

Herod, 20, will join two former Natomas High teammates in Corvallis, defensive end Joe Rudulph and safety Lamar Herron. At Natomas, Herron rushed for 1,855 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior. He averaged a ridiculous 18 yards a carry.

He will arrive at Oregon State as a junior, have 2 to play 2, and will get immediate looks on special teams where coach Mike Riley expects him to make an early impact.

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