Talk about Jake Gelakoska: "He is a dual threat guy for us. He has a very good arm. I had the chance to coach him in our camp last summer and was able to evaluate him quite a bit throughout that week. He's a kid that is every bit an athlete as Lyle (Moevao), in terms of a runner, just to compare him to somebody we have right now, and then as the arm strength of Sean (Canfield). So he is a little bit of both type of players, along with about a 6-4 frame. He is a kid that we are real excited about. He didn't play on a great team, but he is a guy with a lot of upside and we are very, very happy with that signing. He committed very early, last summer and coach (Bruce) Read has held onto that commitment and we are happy about getting him."
Oregon guys at tight end: "There's a chance Carl (Sommer) might play a little defense. We talked to him that he might play that way, especially on his trip. He has shown some interest in wanting to do that, so that could eliminate one problem, although we don't necessarily want to give him up that easily. Gabe Miller was a guy who was in a similar situation last year. He could have played tight end, defensive end, linebacker – any of three – and we settled on tight end for him. Carl and Colby (Prince) both kids that we had in camp and got to evaluate in person. Really different players – Carl is thicker, probably more of a blocking tight end where Colby is a stand up, really a receiver at West Albany that we were going to try and play him a little bit like we did with Joe Newton in terms of flexing him out as a receiver. He will need to improve as a blocker to play the tight end position but that second tight end position will fit him real well. As of right now we leave Colby at tight end and have Carl play defense."
James Rodgers: "His recruitment was an interesting story. I got word of him from a friend of mine in the Bay Area who coaches at a junior college. He can coached in this all-star game that James had played in down in Florida. He said no body was really on this kid, he's little, but just watch the tape. I did and brought it back to coach Riley and we took another hard look at it and decided it was worth a trip to go down there. He's a guy we are very excited about. What we did in our recruiting of the receivers is that we wanted to try and get a receiver for each position that we have – a split end, a flanker and a slot. By doing that we probably through Darrell Catchings would be a X (split end) receiver, somewhere along the lines of Sammie Stroughter in terms of position. Brandon Wimberly we kind of penciled in that slot. He's a bigger, more like Brandon Powers size-wise. Nowdays, at least for us, our slots are going to be in between a smaller tight end and a big receiver because we are asking them to block more, so Wimberbly will fill that role for us. James will be a flanker for us. He fits the Ruben Jackson mold just because he is a little bit smaller, but has great speed. Watching his tape he did a bunch of things that we do – he runs reverses, runs a like bit of the fly, verticals – a lot of things that we need and thought he would fit in great with us. We felt those three kids would fit our offense well."
Gelakoska: "We feel that Sean is more of a prototypical drop back type of passer. Lyle is a little bit smaller but runs all over the place and makes plays all over the place. We like the ability to have both and maybe use both of them. Jake just happened to be a little bit of both. He is a very good runner and he has a big strong arm. It just happened to be that way. We fit our plan with the players we have. Even with Matt (Moore) we moved him around here or there, but he was more of a drop back passer. Depending on how the spring shakes out between Lyle and Sean depends on how we use them and what we will do. Jake will be flexible with whatever we do."
On McCants and Mokhtar: "Definitely, running backs of the future. With two seniors we need to have some depth next. We need to develop a couple of kids that get a lot of time. They are going to need to play special teams and get involved quickly. They are both talented kids with different styles. Mokhtar is a little bit more of a brusier – a big physical runner. Ryan's got a little bit more speed, more quicks. Both are talented backs off of good teams and programs. Both are great kids from great families. We are very pleased."
McCants at fullback: "We haven't played a lot with the fullback. As long as he can continue to run with the speed that he has shown at 230, that would be great. You look at Steven Jackson, who is a big, physical back that has always kept his speed up and we hope it is the same with Ryan. We don't want him to get overly heavily and slowdown. We can do a lot of things with those guys in terms of our pass protection so they need to have a little weight on them so they can be physical runners as well as blockers."
Misconceptions kids have when looking at coming to Oregon State: "Weather. Just getting them here is important. And for the kids in California, who can drive across town and see USC and UCLA, there is a lot of exposure to their program. It is not that easy to get kids up here, rather it is a drive or a flight. We don't get the exposure that some of those schools in the south get. We have to sell them on what we have. We have great facilities. We have great people. Once we get them here it helps us turn the corner. They get to meet our players and our staff and see a lot of the nice things we have going on here – especially with the stadium and the indoor practice facilities. All these things are convenient for our players and we really sell that."
Any recruits mention the bowl game: "There was a ton, and I am speaking for myself in my area, but that was a common theme in the high schools and the recruits. And not only the Sun Bowl, but also the Hawaii game was a big hit. Those last three games, the Civil War included, being on TV helps us because the kids we haven't got to campus are able to see us on national television and they like the fact that we are throwing the ball a lot, a lot of downfield passes and big plays. I think it's exciting to watch us. There is no question that the wins at the end of the season were huge for us."
Recruiting philosophy: "I really believe that in following coach Riley's philosophy, he is all about people. As beautiful as the facilities that we have, we try and sell them on our people here, the coaches and players because after you have been here a short time it doesn't really matter what weight room you are in or what the stadium looks like. Those things don't stick with a kid. It is the relationship with the coaches and players. That is a real testament to what we did this year with our kids. The character they showed. The fact that they stuck together and worked. All those things. Coach Riley best describes it as nobody blinked and that's the kind if kids we have in the program and that is what we are selling. As great as the facilities are – and we appreciate it, need it and it keeps us inline with the rest of the conference – our biggest sell is the character of our players. I think it has paid dividends for us already."
Overall outlook: "We found four good receivers to fill three spots. We have quite a few seniors next year that we will use and we needed to develop three spots for the future. We filled a couple of holes on the offensive line at the tackle position, especially with Cole, Smiley and Ioane. I feel great about the quarterback numbers-wise there with the returners and the signing Jake. We got a lot of tight ends to choose from. We have good speed, great depth at receiver and running back and filled some spots at tackle. Defensively, I know they felt good about that class. We are very excited about this group and feel like we have some players who can contribute right away."
Read Mark Banker's thoughts on the 2007 recruiting class here.