IN A STUNNER, a five star junior college All-American has said he's qualified and will be lacing 'em up for Oregon State next season. Not only that, the defensive tackle said he'll be enrolling at Oregon State in January and cracking pads in the Beavers' spring session.

Last recruiting season, Ismail Abdunafi (6-4, 285, 4.9) was a highly sought defensive tackle out of Bakersfield College with more than 20 offers under his belt. He eventually signed with Illinois, but failed to qualify. Now he's back, and he'll be playing with Oregon State.

Oregon State?

"I've actually had contact with them since my freshman year," said Abdunafi. "They were one of the programs that stuck by me. They understood my situation. I didn't make it to Illinois, so I wanted to make a decision quick. Schools were calling, but I made my decision and now I'm going to ride out with it."

Last season, Abdunafi was virtually unstoppable, recording 70 tackles, 25 for loss, along with 12 quarterback pressures and four passes batted down. He also knocked four quarterbacks out of the game.

His decision was made based on the persistence of the Oregon State staff -- with a very big assist to Ricky Herrod.

"When it was time to make contact, I had contact with a buddy there from Bakersfield that I played with - Rickey Herrod," said Abdunafi. "The communication, that was the big thing. I got my Associates' degree, so now I'm ready to get back in the works."

Abdunafi's strength numbers last year were off the charts -- bench press of 400 pounds and a squat of 595. He said he's headed to Oregon State without ever having set foot on campus.

"All I'm going on is opinions - people that have been there and what I hear and see on TV," said Abdunafi, a fullback/linebacker at Elizabeth High School in New Jersey before heading to junior college. "I've never been there before."

So no official visit to OSU even?

"I just want to sign as soon as possible and get back out to the west coast, give the Pac-10 a shot and get where I'm trying to get," said Abdunafi.

Abdunafi said he will be at Oregon State no later than January 9th, the beginning of the new quarter.

"I'm going to try to get out there earlier, but if it's the 9th, that's what it is," he said.

Abdunafi said he expects to sign another NLI, his last, on Feb. 1. It was unclear to Abdunafi as to whether he's going to sing a mid year letter or simply show up, enroll and sign a scholarship. He said he considers himself a recruitable athlete after failing to satisfy Big-Ten requirements and enroll at Illinois.

"I believe I will have to sign a letter of intent, because I'm still a recruited athlete," said Abdunafi.

Abdunafi never redshirted at Bakersfield, so he expects to have two years to play two after sitting out this last year.

"I'm not worried about that, I'm just worried about ballin'," said Abdunafi. "Just one day at a time."

Abdunafi was rated among the the nation's Top-10 Junior College prospects by last season. Post season honors and accolades include: Most Valuable Player of the Western State Conference and first-team All-State and All-California. He also set a Bakersfield College record with 15 sacks in the regular season.

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