Beavers re-land star running back

CONSIDER IT AN early Christmas present. is pleased to be breaking great news for ye black and orange faithful with the announcement that one of the most touted prospects from last year's recruiting class has secured a qualifying test score and will be enrolling at Oregon State this summer. BF.C talks with Patrick Fuller about this long-awaited day.

Patrick Fuller, out of Covina, Calif., and one of the West's most recruited running backs in the class of 2004, has secured a qualifying score on his ACT and is headed to Corvallis.

Fuller (6-0, 200) learned late Wednesday night that all the time, effort and determination had paid off. The running back sensation from Charter Oak High told moments ago he is absolutely thrilled to be launching his Oregon State career.

So, too, is coach Nigel Burton, the OSU coach who recruited Fuller. Just hours ago, Fuller gave Burton a copy of the notification that he had passed his test when the OSU cornerbacks coach came through the area on a recruiting trip.

But before that, he talked to Burton on Thursday and let him in on the news.

"I talked to him and he said, 'Man, I've got the biggest smile on my face right now!''" said Fuller with a laugh. "And yes, I did. I did work really, really hard and yes, I passed."

Fuller told at the tail end of March his days were spent working out and studying. And that he was bound and determined to make it happen, looking forward to being part of the OSU family.

"I'm a very determined person," said Fuller at the time. "I'm looking for good things to happen -- for them to see a lot out of me. I'm getting prepared and I can't wait to get up there to see everybody."

Fuller will be in Corvallis about a month from now, ready to get to work.

"Yes sir, I will," he said with a laugh. "I'll be up the second week in June."

Fuller has sent in all his paperwork, saying he's been told to expect the NCAA Clearinghouse paperwork to clear in the next 2-3 days.

FULLER WAS ONE of the gems in the OSU class of 2004, fielding more than a dozen offers before making his pledge to the Beavers. USC, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Washington State, Washington, Colorado, Nebraska and Texas A&M all offered Fuller by September of his senior year.

His senior season, Fuller rushed for more than 2,037 yards and 24 TDs. He's been timed in the 40 at 4.45 and has a vertical leap of 36-plus inches. In over 35 years at the Charter Oak helm, coach Lou Farrar said he's never coached a running back better than Fuller. He added that he's just as good a person as he is a football player, something that comes through loud and clear when talking with the multi-talented back.

Fuller has the power to take it up the gut and also the speed to bounce it outside and take the corner. On Signing Day, coach Mike Riley described him as "...a great-looking kid, a nice-sized kid, and again, his production has been outstanding. I've seen him practice basketball and he looks athletic and powerful and quick and fast, so I'm excited about him."

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