MIKE RILEY AND STAFF look to have enjoyed a pleasant five minute rest after '06 LOI Day, kicking off the 2007 Beaver class with one heck of an opening act. The Beavs 24 hours ago secured a verbal commitment from Carl Sommer, an athletic DE/TE out of Milwaukie, Ore., who was fast becoming one of the state's sought prospects. And get this, he's set to graduate early from high school. About a year from now, the 6-4, 230-pounder with 4.6 speed in the 40 will be gearing up for OSU's spring ball.

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Give a big assist on Sommer's verbal to Beaver Gabe Miller, who may have a future as an OSU recruiting coordinator after his playing days are done. Sommer and Miller struck up a friendship at the Beavs camp last summer and have stayed in close contact ever since.

"One of the big things that helped me make this decision, besides the coaches, the facilities and the program, was Gabe Miller," said Sommer. "That might sound funny because we play the same position(s) and we're both versatile, but I really like him as a person, and I've talked to him throughout the season and throughout the process of recruiting. We thought it would be really fun to play together."

Sommer's pledge to coach Riley came Tuesday morning. "He skipped out of his meeting and offered me my scholarship", said Sommer, who immediately accepted. "I told him I was going to be a Beaver, that I'm done with colleges and that's my choice. He was really happy and said he was hoping that was what I would say."

"I talked to coach Riley after he was done and he was really happy to have Carl," said Doug Sommer, the head coach at Milwaukie and Carl's dad. "He thought Carl was not only what the program needed as a player but also as a person. That made me feel really good as a dad and a coach."

TO BE ABLE to get a spring session's experience under your belt, for any player, is huge. Carl actually changed his class schedule this morning to better ensure that becomes reality.

"He'll graduate in January and with the way the terms break, he will probably start (at OSU) after spring break," said the elder Sommer. "He's excited about it. The coaches have told him that if he's big enough when he comes in, he'll have a chance to play as a freshman. So he wanted to get up and get running."

WHILE HIS VERBAL is an early one, perhaps even the earliest in the history of the program, it was actually a long time in coming. Coach and son traveled to Corvallis last April to watch the spring sessions, and the fire was lit.

"He loved it the moment he walked in," said coach Sommer.

Then, after participating in the OSU summer camp, Carl told his dad he'd found his future college during the car ride home.

"After camp, we're riding back and he said 'Hey, this is where I want to be'," said coach Sommer. "I told him he hadn't really looked at anything else but he said, 'Dad, they look you in the eye, here. They're sincere. It's close to home. It's big time football and I don't want to go anywhere else.'"

Like any parent, Doug Sommer encouraged his son to keep an open mind and see what else was out there. He told Carl if he wanted to do this now, there wasn't going to be a de-commit later, there would be no more tape going out and no official visits to other schools.

"I told him if you're committed, you're committed," said coach Sommer. "And he said that's fine with him. He's sure. So we feel really good about it."

OSU LANDED CARL SOMMER over increasing interest from the West Coast and beyond. Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Miami and Vandy had all made inquiries while Oregon had been by Milwaukie, and Washington, Cal and UCLA had started filling up the Sommer mailbox.

In 2005, Sommer was honorable mention all-state, and a league All-Star first team defensive selection, second team all-star honors on offense. As a sophomore, it was just the opposite: first team offense, second team defense.

His junior campaign, Sommer racked up 10 sacks, including an impressive five in one game, among his 42 tackles. Offensively, he caught 12 balls for 300 yards and two TDs. As a sophomore, he averaged 21 yards a catch, with 352 receiving yards on 17 receptions with a pair of TDs.

AS FOR WHERE he'll line up for the Beavs, a little tug of war looks to be in the offing amongst members of the OSU coaching staff.

"When the defensive coaches have him, they tell him he's a defensive player and when the offensive players have him, they say he's a tight end, h-back -- kind of like Gabe Miller," the elder Sommer laughed. "It will probably be a wait and see thing.

"He's very athletic. He's fast for a 230 pound kid -- he's 4.6. He's a playmaker, a good decision maker and he has great hands."

Carl Sommer profile

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