Five walk-ons join football program

Oregon State University head football coach Mike Riley has announced five walk-ons have joined the football program and will participate in spring drills next month. The newcomers include Bill Banash from Tigard High School, Steve Cooper from Marshfield High School, Cody Heller from Marsing High School in Idaho, Michael Smith from Lake Oswego High School and Andy Stewart from Sunset High School. Heller and Smith participated during winter term workouts with the team.

Banash, a 5-11 wide receiver, will be a sophomore on the football team this fall. He was a three-year letterman at Tigard, playing linebacker on defense and tight end and fullback on offense. He suffered a season ending knee injury the first game of his junior season. Banash was also a four-year letterman in track throwing the javelin and competing in the 100 meters.

Cooper, a 5-8 wide receiver, will also be a sophomore this season. He was a second team All-Midwestern League defensive back selection his senior year in 2003. Cooper attended Southern Oregon University for the 2004-2005 academic year and was a member of the football team. He also competed in track at Marshfield.

Heller is a 6-0 200-pound freshman linebacker. He was a four-year letterman in football, basketball and track at Marsing – a town located on the banks of the Snake River near the state border with Oregon. He was a three-time All-Western Idaho Conference linebacker and earned all-league honors as a tight end, punter and running back. He also was a two-time state champion in the shot put. Ron Heller, a four-year letterman (1981, 83-85) in football at OSU and a former NFL tight end, is Cody's uncle.

Smith is a 6-1, 211-pound redshirt-freshman linebacker. He lettered three years as a linebacker and offensive guard at Lake Oswego for former OSU All-American receiver Steve Coury. He was an All-Three Rivers League selection as a senior on defense.

Stewart is a 5-11, 199-pound junior running back. He lettered and started three years at running back for Sunset, earning second team All-Metro League as a junior and senior. He also lettered four years in track and two years in wrestling.

Oregon State opens spring practice April 3 at the Truax Indoor Center or the Tommy Prothro Football Complex. Practices, which are open to the public, begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. during the week. The annual spring game is April 29 at 1 p.m. in Reser Stadium.

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