Sold-out recruiting dinner a hit

The large inflatable Oregon State football helmet that the players run out of on game days at Reser greeted the 800 Beaver football fans who attended the fourth annual recruiting dinner Wednesday night at the Oregon Convention Center. Inside the Oregon Ballroom orange and black littered the tables and fans as giant, clear Beaver logos shone on the walls.

Attendees were treated to succulent filet mignon or tasty halibut along with buttery mashed potatoes and salty green beans.  Complimentary red and white were available at each table along with coffee and ice water.  Desert consisted of a sweet raspberry cheesecake served with a dash of whip cream.

Festivities started at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction that consisted of various trips, side line passes and vacation getaways.  There were a variety of autographed items by OSU football players that included a signed Derek Anderson Browns jersey, a signed Joe Newton Sun Bowl jersey and a signed football by Yvenson Bernard.  The Sun Bowl trophy was on display along with an ice sculpture in the form of the Beaver logo in the middle of the room.

The program did not start until 8:00 p.m. when Mike Parker took the microphone and reminisced about the great season the football team had.  Parker recalled the last plays of the USC, Oregon and Sun Bowl games telling the crowd he was so excited at the end of the games that he jumped on top of the broadcast booth before his broadcast partner, Jim Warren, had to calm him down.

Assistant head coach Jay Locey took over for head coach Mike Riley recapping the 2006 season as Riley was suffering from the flu.

Locey immediately attributed much of the success the 2006 squad had to the team building activities they did before and during the season.  Just to name a few of the activities; the team had a Sumo wrestling tournament, a swimming Olympics, and a rock, paper, scissors tournament.

The 52-year old coach called 2006 "magical" and the Beavers success paid off locally as every high school coach he ran into said OSU's run was inspirational to their team.  Locey elaborated more on their success stating that is was a choice by everyone on the team to believe that they could win.

Locey called the two-point conversion against Missouri the "capstone to the season."  He said that he was ready to kick the extra point, but the review by the officials gave them some time to think.  After discussing the situation, they decided that they had the Tigers "on the ropes" and that they wanted to "put a dagger in their heart."

When the coaches got together to call the play they were going to try a play action pass to tight end Jason Vandiver, which worked splendidly in the Civil War, or a naked bootleg, but they felt Missouri would be ready for both plays.  So, with a boost of confident from the offensive line and coach Mike Cavanaugh they called "The Blast" and as Locey put it perfectly, "the rest is history."

Highlights of the defensive recruits were next.  Compared to the previous four dinners the clips were significantly shorter, plus a coach did not talk over the clips.  The biographies from the official press release were read as the highlights ran.  This was very disappointing.

Defensive coordinator Mark Banker took the stage next and he didn't really want to be in the spotlight.  He said the Beavs like to recruit from the outside in meaning they like to make linebackers defensive ends, defensive ends tackles and so on and so forth.

Right now they want to craft a team of speed.  They want players who want to come to Corvallis and want to develop both athletically and academically.

Highlights of the offensive recruits were next and was quickly followed with the official announcement of Reggie Dunn signing with OSU and his highlight reel, easily the most impressive footage of the night.

Parker called Nigel Burton, the Men in Black's top recruiter, to the stage where he was asked to talk about Dunn.  Burton said there was only one thing to say, "4.28."  He then followed that up saying that Dunn had been clocked at 4.35 twice, in two different combines.

Burton then told a fun story about Dunn's recruitment.  Around 4:00 p.m. Wednesday Dunn called the football office and asked to speak with coach Riley.  Riley was sick, but Burton said Lee Hull and Danny Langsdorf were there and asked if all three of them could take the place of Riley.

Dunn responded by saying, "I appreciate you recruiting me and it's been a long process, but..." and at this point Burton adds that Langsdorf has his head on the table and Hull is shaking his head. "I'm gonna be a Beav!"

Langsdorf took the stage next to talk about the offensive recruits and said that when Dunn was on the phone he was not optimistic that he was going to sign.  Even after Dunn said he was going to be a Beaver he told Burton that he better get the signed letter as soon as possible.  Langsdorf said that Dunn has "the speed that most other kids don't have.  He is a returner and it is going to be tough to cover him."

The offensive coordinator said they "hit on all" of their goals on the offensive side of the ball.  They wanted three receivers and got four (Darrell Catchings, Leaualofo Liilii, Brandon Wimberly and Dunn) saying the group has a nice mix of size and speed.  They got an excellent quarterback in Jake Gelakoska who "is a kid that can run and throw with a big time arm.  He is the best of both worlds."

They got "two big, physical backs with some speed" who will provide good depth for next year and they got a slew of offensive tackles who are ready to contribute.

Former players tight end Tim Euhus, linebacker Keith Ellison and quarterback Matt Moore concluded the ceremonies. 

Check the premium message board for more news and notes and what Euhes, Ellison and Moore had to say.

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