Inside OSU & Riley's major recruiting shift

Inside OSU & Riley's major recruiting shift

NOT LONG AGO, Oregon State football was the little engine that couldn't. The Beavers consistently signed unknown in-state talent, rarely reached past The Rockies for recruits, and hardly ever did they sign nationally recognized high school or JUCO players. That has all changed, with Beaver recruiting spreading it's wings under Mike Riley during his second stint in Corvallis.

National exposure has since come with the program's recent successes and has allowed coaches into living rooms that used to be nearly impossible to get into during the Avezzano, Kragthorp, and Pettibone eras.

Since the return of Mike Riley in 2003, the Beavers have begun to spread their wings and recruit in several states which were foreign to the program just a decade ago -- recent hauls from Texas and Oklahoma are only the tip of the iceberg.

RIDING THE COAT tails of a Dennis Erickson-led BCS Bowl Game championship, and having been recently ousted from the NFL, Riley went back to work in Corvallis and has never looked back.

Prospective recruits no longer see the 28 straight losing seasons that cast a shadow over the program for so long. Instead, they see a 48-28 record since Riley's return, five straight bowl wins, and a program that has upgraded facilities and has finished in the top three in conference over the past three years.

BUT WHERE DO the players come from that make this program so successful?

California, Oregon, and Washington remain the bread and butter, but recently the trail has spread nation-wide; a great sign for the future of the OSU program.

California is to West Coast recruiting what Florida is to East Coast recruiting, and Oregon State has certainly dipped into the Cali talent pool over the years.

The Beavers have signed 86 players from the Golden State since Riley's 2004 class, his first since his return. That makes up nearly 55 percent of all recruits over the past seven years. Four of the six known verbal commitments in the 2010 class are from California.

AND SURPRISING TO MANY, in those same years, the Beavs have singed just 32 recruits from Oregon and Washington combined. This of course is not including walk-ons from the surrounding areas who end up earning a roster spot and/or a scholarship.

But other reliable pipelines for OSU include Hawaii and Arizona. The Islands have sent 18 recruits to the Beaver mainland since '04, while 12 recruits have left the scorching desert of Arizona for the lush greenery in the Willamette Valley.

The Beavers have set foot and successfully landed quality talent in Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Montana, Illinois, Florida, Utah, Nevada, Texas, and Oklahoma since Riley's second stint with the Beavs.

Texas and Oklahoma are the most recent notables with the Rodgers Brothers plus incoming freshman Michael Doctor (LB) and Dax Dilbeck (S).

But here are a few other names of those who signed with the Beavers from considerably outside the West:

Yvenson Bernard - Boca Raton, FL - Now with the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Sabby Piscitelli - Boca Raton, FL - Now with the NFL Tampa Bay Bucks
Keenan Lewis - New Orleans, LA - Now with the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers
Brandon Hughes - Bloomington, IL - Now with the NFL San Diego Chargers

IT'S NOT A difficult argument to make, that James Rodgers and/or Jacquizz Rodgers will also add their names to a pro roster at some point, only increasing the already impressive results from cross-country recruiting.

And prospects take notice of players in the NFL who come from their area -- and the college that helped get them there.

Although the areas outside of CA, OR and WA remain ancillary recruiting areas for OSU, they're critical to success on the field. And the players picked up from those states create a whole new playing field for OSU recruiting in the Pac-10.

And while we know the Beavers realistically will probably never be ranked Top-10 in national recruiting, (and that's a whole 'nother multi-faceted story as to why that is), the bottom line is that it's been beneficial indeed to the Beavers to spread their wings, and to unearth a few gems hidden across the country just waiting to take their star turn in Corvallis.

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