Riley - "I'm excited about this group"

BY THE TIME you read this the Oregon State coaches will have already been at the Valley Football Center for several hours sipping on their coffee and waiting for the fax machine to belch to life and spit out the letter of intents from the 20 plus newest members of the Men in Black.

"I'm excited about this group," coach Mike Riley said. "It's a varied group. By numbers I'm excited about the offensive line and corners, which were high priorities going in. "

Cornerbacks Rashaad Reynolds, a third team All-State selection, junior college transfer Cory Smith and three star recruit Sean Martin are all expected to sign and possibly Brandon Sermons too.

On the lines OSU is adding six offensive linemen and two defensive lineman, but an offensive lineman or two could switch sides.

Perhaps the top recruit of the class is OT Michael Philipp, a four star recruit, who turned down offers from over 12 schools to be a Beaver.

The 2009 class got started early in January when OL Geoff Garner of Mesa High and RB Jovan Stevenson of Sunnyside High joined the team. Garner was a 2006 signee who went on a two year mission while Stevenson, who signed in 2007, delayed enrollment to wait for a scholarship to open up.

More greyshirts are expected to join the team in the summer when brothers Kevin and Devin Unga from Kahuku High return from their two year mission in Chilie. shows 25 recruits that are expected to sign in 2009, but not all of the players will join the team in 2008. Some will fall to academics, while others will greyshirt.

"There are going to be some greyshirts in that group. I'm not going to tell anybody that until I have to because that's going to change," Riley said. "I don't think our staff knows what's in store totally. I have talked to some about being greyshirts from the start. And I talked to some since then. We were almost full going into the stretch here."

S Jordan Poyer of Astoria High and WR Obum Gwacham of Ayala High are the two for sure greyshirts of the 2009 class. QB Jack Lomax and WR Micah Hatfield from Lake Oswego High, among others, are two other candidates.

Riley says there are "three (recruits) who have some work to do" in the classroom. One of those three is OT John Braun who may be headed to a junior college to get his academics in order.

The 2009 class may be the best class Riley and his staff have put together. It ranks a pedestrian 41 in's national rankings, but with Riley and company you can throw the stars and rankings right out the window.

Just like in years past there has been one consistent theme from each recruit after they sign with the Beavs - they love the family atmosphere.

"(That's) our best selling point, there's no doubt that our team has more to do with it than anything else," Riley said.

Riley loves that recruits are coming to Corvallis for the right reasons (family atmosphere, etc.) and not the wrong ones (facilities, etc.

"The other thing I like is they can verbalize it and are going here for those reasons," Riley said. "I'd like them to like the stadium, but I don't want them to make a decision on that.

"I want them to have a real reason to come. I want the guys who come here, I want them to be happy about it, and not come here just because that's all that's there."

And while the family atmosphere is a great selling point, knocking off USC two of the last three seasons and finishing in the Top 25 three consecutive years doesn't hurt either.

"I felt comfortable talking about the football credibility about it - that’s about 50 percent part of the recruiting," Riley said. "Finishing in the top 25 three years in a row and that win - there’s more momentum in that part of it than ever before. You don’t have to sell it to them.

"They are aware that this is a pretty good football school.”


  • One roster change of note since the end of the season, DE Matt LaGrone is now on scholarship. Other players Riley would like to get on scholarship include DT Brennan Olander, OT Mike Remmers and P Johnny Hekker.

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