AKUNA: "They made me feel like it was home"

FOR THE THIRD straight year the Oregon State football program was named the most family friendly in the nation. That close-knit atmosphere helped land three star recruit Shaydon Akuna.

Shaydon Akuna

"We're very excited about Shaydon," Mike Riley said. "He was a highly recruited player and I really like the process that took place here."

Akuna had well over double digit offers - including full rides from most of the Pac-10- but whittled down his choice to Oregon State and Florida State

"When we get to Signing Day, then that's when I'm going to make my decision," Akuna told BeaverFootball.com just days before Feb. 3.

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound player was always a heavy Oregon State lean - they were one of the first to offer and he connected with the coaching staff.    Still, Akuna kept his options open, but after his visit to Corvallis - OSU was the school to beat.

"It's just the fact I fit in perfect with everyone there at Oregon State," Akuna said after his visit.  "There are a lot of Polynesians there and they made me feel like it was home."

OSU currently has almost a dozen players from Hawaii on its roster, including a stellar Hawaiian restaurant in Local Boyz.  But it just wasn't the players that he connected with, he bonded with the coaching staff as well.

"I respect the coaches there a lot," Akuna said.  "They seem like they can pass on to me a lot of knowledge. I feel I can succeed there because of their coaching staff."

BESIDES RILEY WRITING him every week defensive coordinator Mark Banker did an outstanding job of targeting Akuna early.

"He was easily identified by Mark Banker," Riley said.  "Shaydon came on an in season visit and basically just went through the whole recruiting process right down to the home visit right at the very end."

"It was a great process because it was a family process. We spent a long time during the home visit with the family and there were a lot of great questions and good discussion.

"I think the process that they went through, despite the number of alternatives they had, helped them end up picking the Beavers, which we're very excited about."

Akuna is an early candidate for playing time, most likely on special teams, and while some have projected him to lineup at safety, it looks like outside linebacker is where he will suit up at Oregon State.

"I think he's a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in what we do," Riley said.  "He's a terrific athlete with good size and still good potential for more growth. 

"I think he's a real good fit there."

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