I don’t know what will happen between now and National Letter of Intent Day, but it’s interesting – and perhaps unprecedented – that Oregon State was after four players from the same high school, Grant Union High in Sacramento.
I know it seems sometimes like the senior classes of Kahuku and Kamehameha high schools enroll at OSU each year, but four from the same team? Maybe the Beavers go 0-for-4, but if the recruiting websites are accurate they might still have an outside chance at sought-after DT/NT Viliami Moala, who goes 6-3½, 335 pounds, bench presses 420 pounds and has been described as unblockable.
Moala is the biggest name among the Grant High foursome and he has verbaled to Cal (on national TV no less) but he’s sent out some mixed signals, saying that if several of his teammates fell in love with Oregon State (the Grant guys are supposed to be visiting in Corvallis this weekend) he might switch to OSU.
Those ever-present Ducks were also on Moala’s list. He is being called the most heavily-recruited prep from the Sacramento area since Cordova HS’s Kevin Willhite in 1981 and during the busiest time of recruiting he was getting 50 pieces of mail a day.
I don’t know how secure Cal coaches are with the Moala commit, and I don’t know how much hope the OSU coaches hold out in terms of prying him away from Berkeley and easing the pain of DT Stephen Paea's departure to the NFL but it’s a typical story around the country as letter of intent day nears and teams try to not only hold on to what they’ve got but maybe steal a kid or two if they can.
Some say Moala is a perfect nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, but it seems doubtful OSU defensive coordinator Mark Banker, who just went through a character-building season with his four down linemen "gap control'' defense, would switch to a 3-4 just to pave the way for a true freshman.
The other highly-recruited Grant players are 6-3, 245 MLB/TE Darryl Paulo, 6-3, 250 DE Puka Lopa, and 6-3, 190 safety James Sample.
There will apparently be no shortage of pass rushers on the OSU roster in coming seasons: the Beavers have signed letters of intent from defensive ends Rusty Fernando (6-3, 223, Glendale CC) and Blake Harrah (6-3, 255, Saddleback CC), and barring last minute changes of heart will have LOIs from prep DEs Elisinoa Aluesi (6-6, 243) of Jefferson HS in Portland, Desmond Collins (6-3, 240) of Salt Lake City, Lamar De Rego (6-3, 252) of San Jose, Jaswha James (6-2, 220) of Inglewood, Calif., Na’Alii Robins (6-3, 242) of Honolulu, and Dylan Wynn (6-3, 234) of Concord, Calif., who according to Rivals.com is rated No. 25 nationally at his position.
Four offensive line starters are back in 2011, so why the hand-wringing? Well, given the issues of last season’s offensive line, which struggled to open holes for NFL-bound tailback Jacquizz Rodgers, OSU fans are clamoring for new blood up front and so far OSU has a commit from Justin Addie (6-3, 285) of Mesa, Ariz., and has already placed ex-SMU signee Darryl Jackson (6-7, 315) of Lakewood, Calif. on the roster.
Given the situation on the O-line, many are wondering if Jackson can help immediately, although that might be selling the holdovers short.
The Beavers return starter Michael Philipp at LT, starter Grant Johnson at LG, back-up Josh Andrews at C, starter Burke Ellis and Michael Lamb at RG and starter Mike Remmers and Colin Kelly at RT.
It is likely that OSU offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh will adopt a zero tolerance policy in spring ball, trying to determine which returnees are willing to put in the work to raise their game and improve the O-line next season, when the team breaks in a new featured running back (or backs).
OSU is reportedly still recruiting several prep O-linemen, including 6-3, 295 Vivii Teofilo of Phoenix, who was on campus last weekend.
With Stephen Paea headed for the NFL, OSU has a gaping hole at defensive tackle, where the top returnees are Kevin Frahm and Castro Masaniai (coming off season-ending injury). … OSU has one DT on its commit list in Brandon Bennett (6-3, 278) of Spring, Tex. and a greyshirt already aboard in Fred Thompson, an all-city DT from Oakland.
With Quizz coming out for the NFL draft and skipping his senior year, the focus is on current roster players Ryan McCants, Jordan Jenkins, Jovan Stevenson and Malcolm Marable but there are two intriguing preps coming in: Malcolm Agnew (5-10, 180) from St. Louis and Storm Woods (5-11, 205) of Pflugerville, Tex. near San Antonio. Could Woods be the next Quizz? It would be a great story.
And I would love a Pflugerville Panthers’ T-shirt. Hint, hint.
With the status of WR/returner James Rodgers uncertain – can he come back from two surgeries on his knee and be the same player? – OSU may be looking for another impact WR to line up alongside emerging star Markus Wheaton and the Beavers are bringing in some impressive pass-catchers in four-star Stockton, Calif. wideout (and No. 26 nationally at his position) Brandin Cooks (5-11, 165), three-star wideout Richard Mullaney (6-3, 185) of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and three-star Tyrequek Zimmerman (6-0, 186) of Lawton, Okla. … some think Mullaney is the catch of this recruiting class for the Beavers.