RB leaps on OSU radar but do Beavs have room?

WITH RECRUITING BECOMING an ever earlier process of offering and gaining verbal commitments, there have become more and more prospects who burst onto the radar late -- which has come to mean their senior year. One is running back Ashton Jefferson out of Alvin, Texas, the unanimous MVP of his district. Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf sat down with the Alvin High yardage machine this past week.

When Riley dispelled a Florida newspaper blog that Danny Langsdorf was talking with Miami about their offensive coordinator opening, he mentioned that he had just been down in Texas, with Langsdorf, recruiting. Ashton Jefferson was on the itinerary.

"They've definitely been talking to him...coach Riley was down to talk with him (this past) week with coach Langsdorf," said Alvin coach Jeff Dungen.

Jefferson, coming from a 2-7 team that didn't make the playoffs, was his district's unanimous MVP -- something rarely seen on the prep end of the year awards lists.

Oregon State hasn't offered though, and Jefferson has given a verbal commitment to Utah State and remains strongly committed to them, said Dungen. What it might come down to, as far as Beaver fans are concerned, is if OSU can find room for him. And therein lies the rub.

"He is going to be a steal for whoever gets him," said Dungen.

OREGON STATE LIKELY won't have room for a full boat of 25 this class, though they'll win up close to that figure. The Beavs are also expected to oversign, with those grayshirts signing next Wednesday and then delaying their enrollment at OSU until the following January.

But the Beavs, like every other school, have to keep up with the Joneses in recruiting. That means putting offers out there early, and gaining early commitments. The result, for players like Jefferson, whose tape isn't seen by schools like OSU until late or after their senior year, is that options are limited by the time recruiting really begins for them.

"Kansas and Utah were probably on him hardest (first)...but both of them had previous commitments earlier, they didn't see him until late, they were like Oregon State. By the time they saw him they already had some other people offered and (committed)," said Dungen.

JEFFERSON WASN'T THE primary ballcarrier as a junior, with 78 carries, 434 yards and four touchdowns a year ago. Good numbers, but not the kind that make college coaches drop everything in recruiting rich Texas. His senior year, however, Jefferson blew up, bowled people over and outran the rest.

Jefferson racked up the second most rushing yards in school history, 1,565 yards in but nine games on 261 carries with 14 touchdowns. A healthy chunk of it, he did on his own.

"He was what we had. My best offensive lineman was 5-10, 190 pounds...Ashton is getting hit four times in the backfield and he's still grinding out five yards. If you give him any type of crease, he's going the distance...he never even came close to getting caught when he broke one. He outran people that had the edge on him too," said Dungen.

He also never fumbled once this season.

THE FINAL WEEK of recruiting before the Feb. 4 Signing Day will tell the tale on if Jefferson signs with Utah State or if Oregon State, or someone else, comes in at the last moment with an offer.

And the current climate is a difficult situation for schools and prospects alike. Spots fill up faster than ever these days. Offers are extended and the ones that are still out there, schools are often loathe to rescind them and deal with the fallout. It all combines to make good prospects still available, late.

"Here's my kid, at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds with a legit sub 4.5 40, with great grades, and just an unbelievable football player," said Dungen. "And because he wasn't offered a year ago by somebody...

"Iowa State is also in on him and is in the same situation as Oregon State. They don't know if they have a scholarship and they won't know for a few days."

Dungen also added there's zero doubt in his mind Jefferson would fare well against Pac-10 competition.

"We weren't real good as a team. But he was the best football player on the field...and we played against so many D-I commits," he said.

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