Signing Day notebook
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 05:02
• It was a strange year for the Beavers, because the list of 23 signees does not have a single player from Oregon. None from Washington, either.
“We tried for a few guys here in Oregon,” said head coach Mike Riley. “We recruited some hard and wanted them, and they elected some place else, which is part of the deal. I don’t feel too bad about that because I know what we put into it. We were able to cover our bases elsewhere this time around.”
• Wide receiver Hunter Jarmon from Waco, Texas, is looking to become one of the few two-sport athletes at Oregon State.
“[Jarmon] is a good all-around player, a really good baseball player,” Riley said. “He might have aspirations to do both and probably is capable of doing both sports. I know it’s hard to do.”
Texas Southern, Washington, Baylor, Arkansas, LSU, UCLA, Texas A&M and Texas State recruited Jarmon for baseball.
He started playing baseball at 5 years old, but didn’t start football until eighth grade. He maintains he’s better at football though, because he had more offers.
Jarmon is excited about being a two-sport athlete.
“It was pretty easy in high school making that transition,” Jarmon said. “I know it’s going to be hard in college. I’m down for anything, any of the challenges. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime to opportunity to play football and baseball at a Division I program that’s really successful. So why not take it?”
The last player to try both football and baseball was All-American cornerback Jordan Poyer. Poyer played baseball early in his sophomore year, but ended up dropping baseball to solely focus on football.
“I talked to [Poyer] a little bit about that when I was on my official,” Jarmon said. “He said it was pretty tough but he knew football was going to be his future so he wanted to focus on that and have a future in football because he thought he was better at that.”
• Riley and company signed multiple athletes who will also be two-sport athletes, competing in football and track (Victor Bolden, Walter Jones, Corey Lawrence).
“We’ve proven guys like Brandin Cooks, obviously, and Markus Wheaton — they’ve done it,” Riley said. “They’ve done it at a high level in track and a high level in football. Kids are interested in track, they like it.”
• Speaking of Bolden, he’s received high praise from Riley at the press conference.
“Victor Bolden, no doubt in my mind could move over and play corner. I watched him in a camp play corner and thought he was a prospect at corner. He’ll probably play wide receiver.”
• Kyle Kempt, the younger brother of former Oregon quarterback Cody Kempt, had an interesting route to his signing with the Beavers. Originally committed to Cincinnati, Kempt’s offer was pulled when the Bearcats got a new head coach after Butch Jones bolted for Tennessee.
“Our business is so volatile that a guy makes an early commitment, then the coaching staff changes underneath him,” Riley said. “Maybe he doesn’t fit exactly what the new coaching staff at the school wants to do, maybe they’ve got another guy in mind. It’s pretty hard on kids.”
Kempt was already known around the state of Oregon. He originally went to Aloha High School before his family moved to Ohio. Kempt famously received a verbal offer as an eighth grader from Jim Harbaugh, when Harbaugh was coaching Stanford and not Super Bowls.
“We knew about him from the time he was in Oregon,” Riley said. “We had interest early, but he committed relatively early to Cincinnati. … When it opened back up, we reevaluated him, looked back at his film and said let’s go after him.”
• Running back Damien Haskins ran for 3,207 yards on 288 carries and scored 52 touchdowns last season. While only a two-star recruit, and having played at the 2A level, Riley still believes Haskins was the biggest steal of this year’s freshman recruiting class.
“[Running backs coach] Chris [Brasfield] was really excited about Damien Haskins’ ability. And then we were too, it was easy to see on film. … I think Damien was, frankly, under the radar in Texas. I know that there were some people that, all of a sudden at the end when he committed to us, took note and tried to recruit him. And to his credit, he stayed loyal to his commitment to us.”
Warner Strausbaugh, sports editor