PART II -- OREGON STATE continues to finish strong as February's Letter of Intent Day approaches. Three more California standouts are headed to Corvallis -- a linebacker who racked up a ridiculous 189 tackles, a pass rushing specialist and defensive end, and a versatile athlete who could play either on defense or offense for the Black and Orange. And all three hail from the same high school.

Keith Pankey (6-1, 210, 4.55) simply chased down everything that moved this year, leading the team with 189 tackles, (140 solo), an average of 13.5 per game. He tallied six sacks, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries, also carrying the ball 71 times for 490 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named the Tulare County Defensive Player of the Year, All-Valley first team linebacker and third team all-state.

The next stop for Keith, his fraternal twin, Kevin Pankey and their best friend Kyle Bell, is Oregon State.

"It was so cool," said Keith of his official visit to Oregon State this past weekend. "All three of us committed on Sunday. Everybody was so nice and football is so big there in that town. The whole town shuts down for football. There's Go Beavers signs in every single window. I mean, I saw somebody with painted, orange rocks in their yard. I was like, 'Oh wow.'"

Pankey said everything about the trip and the Beaver program made him realize OSU was the school for him, starting with the coaching staff.

"Coach Riley, he's a real, a real nice guy," said Pankey. "You trust him. The coaching staff was laid back and for lack of a better word, they didn't try to BS you. They just want us to play football for them, they were honest and they know how to have a good time but when it comes down to business, they get to work.

"And the most important aspect was the academics. I'm (going to be) a Forestry major and at Oregon State, you have the No. 1 Forestry program in the nation, bar none. They have a 12,000 acre forest outside of school that is dedicated to just that school. For what I want to do -- there are rivers, mountain ranges east and west, it's all central to what I want to do."

Keith said that he and Kevin, although they are fraternal twins, are different players. Kevin played offensive and defensive tackle this season.

"He's probably 6-3.5, 235. We're fraternal but he's a little bigger kid than me. He's got a little belly on him," joked Keith. "Oregon State is looking at me as an outside linebacker or strong safety type of guy, and Kevin, they're undecided on where he's going to be."

Keith, who first verbally committed to Nevada-Reno before ultimately choosing Oregon State, also held offers from Fresno State and James Madison. He said OSU started to come on strong in early December, after they had gotten a chance to look at his tape.

"The opportunity to play with my brother and my best friend, that was a big thing. My position coach there (Greg Newhouse) said he likes that I run downhill," said Pankey. "He said I have good eyes and instincts and that I can run, and that I like to run. I've had to run people from behind and I guess he saw me do that once. I guess they like that I get to the ball."

One misconception that can occur for sons of former college or NFL players is that they're given preferential status, said Pankey, when the reality is they often have to work harder because of the expectations. He said he plans on doing plenty of that at Oregon State.

"I'm just so thankful to be given this opportunity to play with my brother and Kyle," said Pankey. "We've known each other since the fourth grade and this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Even in the fourth grade as little kids we were always saying we'd be going to college together and to the NFL together, and we're all looking forward to making the most of this."

Keith Pankey profile
Kevin Pankey profile
Kyle Bell profile

All-Pro offensive lineman Irv Pankey played 13 NFL seasons, 11 with the Rams and two with the Colts after a standout college career at Penn State.

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