Cali lightning bolt makes it solid to Beavs

DARRELL CATCHINGS, after changing to a soft verbal for Oregon State, is again a solid commit to the Beavers. An explosive wide receiver and Hall of Champions All-San Diego Section Team selection, the Escondido speed merchant said Corvallis is where he'll be making his mark out on the college gridiron.

Catchings became a soft verbal last month when he tripped to Washington State, and said he was still considering WSU and others. That phase appears to be over.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to go to Oregon State, actually, it's pretty much official now," said Catchings. "It just seemed like the right fit for me."

Washington State received a verbal commitment from another California prep wide receiver last weekend and Catchings said there hasn't been any contact of late between himself and the Cougars. Regardless, he said he was probably already leaning towards Oregon State following his official visit.

"I like the players, and also knowing that I have a chance to earn some playing time early," said Catchings, who did everything for Escondido this year -- receiving, kick returns, pass interceptions on defense -- he even served as the team's punter.

Oregon State is coming by for an in-home visit "in the next couple weeks," and there are no other schools scheduled to come by the Catchings' home, he said.

The scoop on Catchings is that of an athletic speed merchant (4.39 in the 40) with spring coils for legs. Catchings is one of the top prep high jumpers in the San Diego area.

For the '06 season, Catchings grabbed 49 receptions for 929 yards with 15 touchdowns, and added another 157 rushing yards. He was generally regarded as the best kick returner in the section.

For his efforts, he was named first team All-CIF, Hall of Champions All-San Diego Section Team, Offensive Player of the Year for the Valley League and the North County Times Offensive Player of the Year. And his prep coach calls him the best player he's ever had, period.

As a junior, Catchings pulled in 22 catches for 523 yards -- a 23.77 yard average -- with six TDs. He added another 42 yards on four carries, and ran back two punts for touchdowns and took a kickoff to the house.

Darrell Catchings profile

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