"The Beast" likes Linebacker U

MIKE RILEY likes to say Oregon State has become Linebacker U and with Beavs like Jonathan Pollard, Richard Seigler, Darnell Robinson, Nick Barnett, Bryan Jones and James Allen, its hard to argue. One who could follow in their footsteps is a Redlands Calif., wrecking machine who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 235 pounds. His prep coach says Derrell Acrey is a big LB who can really run. "The beast" holds three offers, including one from OSU, and more could soon be on the way. He also has a leader.

Oregon State leads for Acrey (6-2, 235), but nearby UCLA is right behind.

"Right now, I'd say Oregon State is probably my leader," said Acrey. "I think that school is pretty much Linebacker Central. So I'm liking them right now, but UCLA is also up there."

Oregon State, Wyoming and San Jose State have offered. UCLA, Boise State, Colorado State and San Diego State are showing considerable interest, as well as most of the rest of the Pac-10.

One of the team captains at Redlands East Valley High, visited UCLA, Acrey visited Arizona and Fresno State unofficially this summer. He had planned on going to OSU earlier this month but wasn't able to make it. But he's been keeping in touch with OSU wide receiver Nate Johns, a former teammate with great things to say about Oregon State.

Acrey hasn't set up any official visits yet, but said Oregon State is "most definitely" one he'll be taking a visit to later this fall. Distance is something of a factor but not the most important consideration.

"A little bit, I kind of want to stay in the Pac-10," said Acrey. "But first of all, education (is important). The medical field is what I want to go into. That's a big factor for UCLA, because they're one of the best (medical schools) in the country."

Acrey went on to say the environment and how the coaches run the program will factor into his decision. Also a consideration, while not the most important, is how many players a school sends on to the professional ranks.

Schools aren't allowed to initiate phone calls to a prospective recruit until September 1, so Acrey has picked up the phone and dialed up Oregon State and others.

"I call them every now and then," said "I talked to Mike Cavanaugh (recently)."

Acrey, a strong student, said he's achieved a qualifying score on the SAT but he's not, however, in a hurry to make his college decision.

"I think I might wait until Signing Day to make my decision," he said.

HIS PREP COACH says the interest in Acrey has been heavy, and what it will come down to is who needs an inside linebacker.

"First of all, he's a beast," said Redlands East Valley coach Kurt Bruich. "He's a big kid who can run well. He makes plays.. and he tends to make the big plays."

Two of those big plays last season were interceptions Acrey ran back for touchdowns. On the year, he racked up 107 tackles and had four total interceptions. Boasting sideline-to-sideline coverage, Acrey earned first team all-league honors the past two seasons.

Redlands East Valley is a large school with an enrollment 3500 so for the most part, Bruich doesn't have to have his players go on both offense and defense. But Acrey will play a little fullback this year.

"I can't resist the opportunity," said Bruich.

Derrell Acrey profile

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