2 VERBALS: Hatfield, Lomax go black & orange

THE OREGON STATE 2009 class is filling up fast. The Lake Oswego duo of quarterback Jack Lomax and receiver Micah Hatfield gave their verbal commitments to Mike Riley in Corvallis on Friday afternoon. BF.C talks to both Lomax and Hatfield, takes a closer look at the recruiting class figures, crunches some quarterback numbers for good measure, and more.

"Me and Jack both committed to OSU today," said Micah Hatfield.

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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.

  • The OSU-Lake Oswego pipeline: L-O coach Steve Coury played for the Beavers and among the OSU notables the high school has produced in recent years: Will Darkins, Marcus Henderson, Gabe Miller and Keith Robertson.

  • Neil Lomax rose to prominence on the national stage while with Portland State from 1977-81. Initially thrown into a game because of an injury to the starting QB, Lomax eventually held 90 NCAA passing records. He went on to a nine year NFL career with the Cardinals and was selected to two Pro Bowls.

  • Oregon State is taking two quarterbacks this class -- they have a verbal commitment in the '09 class already in the form of Cody Vaz and their top two signal callers will be seniors next year. Barring something unforeseen, there are four quarterbacks from the current OSU roster who would be on scholarship next season -- Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield, who will be seniors next season, are two. The other QBs in the Beaver fold who signed Letters of Intent are frosh Ryan Katz, who is redshirting this year, and Peter Lalich, a true sophomore sitting out this season after transferring from Virginia. Also wearing the black and orange are three walk-on QBs -- Justin Engstrom, a redshirt freshman; Brennan Sim, a sophomore; and Zach Anderson, a freshman.

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