Dashon Hunt kept the Oregon State Beavers hanging.
The four-star cornerback from Westlake Village, Calif., long ago gave his verbal commitment to the Beavers, but on Wednesday he did not send in his letter of intent until early afternoon.
Hunt, who got offers from numerous schools, including Nebraska, UCLA and Washington, had 32 tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior as Westlake High School. He also ran for 404 yards and five touchdowns as a running back. Hunt was the highest-ranked player in Oregon State’s 2013 recruiting class, but the Beavers and coach Mike Riley are known for finding overlooked talent.
Brothers Jacquizz and James Rodgers were not highly recruited, nor was Jordan Poyer, who finished his college career this past season as one of the most decorated cornerbacks in OSU history. Hunt had said he wanted to go to Oregon State because of Poyer’s success.
Aside from Hunt’s tardiness, much of Riley’s 2013 recruiting class came together as expected.
Included was quarterback Kyle Kempt of Massillon, Ohio, who gave his verbal commitment on Jan. 26. Kempt had committed to Cincinnati, but the offer was rescinded when Tommy Tuberville became head coach.
“Wanna thank God through all this, I’m keeping the orange and black and committing to Oregon State! Go Beavs!" Kempt posted on Twitter.
Kempt, at 6 feet 5 and 200 pounds, passed for 3,056 yards and 32 touchdowns in his senior year at Washington High School, becoming the school’s leading career passer. Kempt grew up in Oregon and played at Beaverton’s Aloha High School his freshman year.
Riley said Kempt had been on Oregon State’s radar back at Aloha and that he was happy to find that the young quarterback was interested in the Beavers.
“He’s smart," Riley said. “He knows our offense, he watches our film. He knows he’s a good fit."
Oregon State was the surprise of the Pac-12 this past season, rebounding from a 3-9 record in 2011 to a 9-4 finish in 2012. The six-game turnaround was the best in school history. The Beavers were ranked No. 20 in the season’s final AP Top 25.
One interesting note for the Beavers’ 2013 recruiting class is that it includes no players from the state of Oregon.
“We tried for a few guys from here in Oregon," Riley said. “We recruited them hard, but they elected to go elsewhere."
The Beavers, typically strong at recruiting in Hawaii, landed two prospects from that state: 6-4, 240-pound defensive end Titus Failauga from Pac-Five High School in Honolulu, and 6-2, 225-pound Manase Hugalu out of Kealakehe High.
There were four wide receivers in the class, including 6-foot, 190-pound Hunter Jarmon from Waco, Texas, who had 93 catches for 1,470 yards and eight touchdowns last season at Midway High. He joins Californians Walter Jones from Redlands High, Jordan Villamin from Etiwanda High and Victor Bolden from Los Osos High.
“This wide receiver group, they’re good football players," Riley said. “Some of them are ‘fly sweep’ guys," he added, referring to one of the Beavers’ most successful offensive plays in recent seasons.
But Riley was most pleased with his new defensive backs, all but one of whom are from California. In addition to Hunt, the Beavers got safeties Justin Strong from Summit High of Rialto and Brandon Arnold from Crespi High of Winnetka, and cornerbacks Steven Nelson, a junior college transfer from College of the Sequoias; Charles Okonkwo, from Summit High in Fontana; and Corey Lawrence, from Del City High School in Oklahoma.
“I think this is one of our best defensive back classes ever," said Riley, crediting secondary coach Rod Perry for Oregon State’s success with the position.