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Jack Lomax, who has 37 TD passes this year with the playoffs yet to come, said he thought headed in that today was likely the day he made his college choice. Along with Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury, the threesome went to Oregon State to watch the Beavs practice as they prepared for Saturday's tilt against UCLA.
"I told coach I wanted to go down and watch another practice and Micah came with us. I was thinking if we went down there, I would probably make a decision and verbal and if I did that, I wanted to do it in person," said Lomax.
Oregon State for the 2009 class is expected to sign a smaller group, under the 25 limit, though they can oversign and ink some who would enroll the following January, (a process called grayshirting). Both Lomax and Hatfield said that after chatting with Mike Riley for a while, the subject of class numbers came up and it became clear to them the Beavs were fast filling up. About all that was left to do was an individual one-on-one conversation with Riley and say it out loud.
"Me being the gentleman that I am, I let Micah go first," quipped Lomax.
The scene played out the same for both. Hatfield and Lomax each told Riley they wanted to verbally commit and Riley yelled and then about overturned the furniture coming across the room to give the future Beaver a bear hug.
"He's a great guy," said Hatfield.
OREGON STATE IS projected to sign 18 this class, although the numbers can and do fluctuate all the way up until February's Letter of Intent Day. With Lomax and Hatfield, that puts the Beavs at 15 -- including a grayshirt holdover from the '08 class expected to enroll in January in the form of running back Jovan Stevenson out of Tucson.
The Beavs are thought to want to hold one of those final three spots open for Simi Kuli, the lauded d-lineman who was not cleared academically in order to join the Beavs this year. He is expected to finish up his remaining classwork by January in order to enroll at OSU at the beginning of the term.
LOMAX, THE SON of legendary state of Oregon QB Neil Lomax, is a pro-style quarterback who looks first to make plays with his arm, something Lomax said Riley has told him he likes about him. And if things break down or the situation calls for it, Lomax says he can make them with his feet as well.
Lomax currently leads the state in passing for No. 1 ranked Lake Oswego. He finished a nine-game regular season 147-of-213 passing (69 percent) for 2,539 yards and 37 touchdowns. He uncharacteristically threw a pair of picks in his last game bringing his season total to....three. And his senior season numbers eclipse what was a heady junior season stat line -- over 2,000 passing yards with 18 touchdowns against two interceptions. The playoffs for L-O start next week so he's not done, but a 55-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio the last two seasons is rarified air.
"It was just a great trip. He was excited and telling everyone about two new Beavers, we went down and watched practice and the players came over and congratulated us," said Lomax.
HATFIELD SAID OSU likes him on offense but he could end up at a few different receiver spots.
The book on the 6-0, 185 pounder is an advanced route runner with sure hands -- and he's also sneaky fast, he said the Beavs have told him he can be both possession receiver and deep threat.
Both said it was the family atmosphere of Oregon State that was at the heart of their decision.
"Now that I think about it, I don't know why I waited so long (after OSU offered) but I guess I was just waiting to see if other offers came, but even if some other offers did come, I think I'd take Oregon State over all of them because their whole team and the coaches are so down to earth. Their players act like our players, there's a team camaraderie there like we have," said Lomax.
"One thing I really didn't want to lose was the family aspect...I think coach Riley and his coaching staff are almost exactly like coach Coury and his coaching staff -- they bring their guys together so well. Whenever me and Jack would go down and watch their players practice...they just seemed exactly like our team, just really down to earth -- good people, genuine people," said Hatfield.