Riley Meets the Press on Signing Day
Feb. 3, 2010
Oregon State football head coach Mike Riley
Opening statement about the 2010 Oregon State recruiting class...
"Thank you all for being here, we really appreciate it. It is a very exciting time of year. When I visit with recruits I mention that the most important thing that we do here is coach our team and the second most important is prepare to get new players added to our team. Today obviously signifies a tremendous addition to our roster. It started out being difficult in some ways because we didn't have the normal 25 guys that we were going to be able to sign. So we initially tried to earmark positional needs and make sure we covered that and then from there we just got the best players that we could surrounding those needs.
"For example, we wanted to get a quarterback and one offensive lineman and do something about the immediate need for the spot at tight end, but also a future need, as we make a decision about a guy that we will probably greyshirt. As far as those goals I think we hit them, we had to get some defensive players in this class and we got five defensive linemen, three linebackers and a couple of other athletes that could be safeties, could play offense, they're guys that are pretty versatile football players in Will Storey and Ryan Murphy. Everybody would like to have 25 spots but we did very well with the numbers we had. I go down the list and I feel great about their addition to our team."
Can you tell us a little bit about Shaydon Akuna, your recruitment of him and what you see in him?
"We're very excited about Shaydon. He was a highly recruited player and I really like the process that took place here. He was easily identified by Mark Banker. He [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 here. 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."
Florida State was looking at Akuna as an outside linebacker or rover position, what do you see for him?
"I think he's a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in what we do. He's a terrific athlete with good size and still good potential for more growth so I think he's a real good fit there." Can you talk about Mana Tuivailala a little bit?
"Mana Tuivailala is a guy from Seaside High school, which is a great area but not easy to get to. Basically, Bruce Reed found him and then we had a very good evaluation process with other assistant coaches watching him play live and we really like this kid's potential. He is a big, good athlete and rather raw and I think he fits a perfect need for us in the defensive line. But it was a good process because we found him, evaluated him hard and recruited him from there."
What about Michael Bibbee?
"Michael Bibbee is a guy that we know a lot about. We've known him for quite a while because he's been to a number of our camps over the last couple of years, so we have firsthand knowledge of working with him. I love those linebackers who are also the runners for their high school; Keaton Kristick is a great example, he ran the ball as a tailback. Michael Bibbee ran the ball, he was a 60 minute man, just played the whole game. We also had the knowledge of watching him work at our camp, he's a very good fit as probably an inside linebacker for us."
Who's the running back in this group?
"Well Malcolm Marable played for Dean Herrington at Alemany High School. Dean Herrington has coached a couple of our former players, Matt Moore and Shane Morales, so we got the recommendation from him. We had a number of running backs who we were looking at early but after the evaluations, Malcolm came out on top. He is not very big, he'll be 175 pounds when he comes here, but he is an exciting player. He is a very gifted runner, fast and quick, and very versatile. He will find his niche here, whether it's early as a third-down back or where ever else we go with him in that regard and he is also a very good defensive back. He really was a major player on a very good team that was a playoff team in California."
Talk about Sean Mannion, his early signing and throwing over 500 yards in three quarters.
"I loved the process with Sean Mannion as well. We go through a pretty in-depth process when we're looking at quarterbacks. We see guys early on film and the guys that we're interested in from there Danny Langsdorf goes out in May and watches them throw on their campus whenever their working out and that's hard to do, get out there to see guys and see them throw. Then we try and be selective from there, see if we can get them up here on an unofficial visit and join us in one of our camps we have. Then we go back and watch some more film and rank them. We then offer scholarships from that ranking. Sean Mannion was the guy that we ranked the first coming out of that process, it was our first offer and he committed so we didn't have to go any further. We saw a lot of good quarterbacks, probably over 30 on our campus over time, and those were the guys we had selected out. We got everyone here that we were interested in and picked Sean and he committed and signed. I appreciate the loyalty that he stayed with us through the commitment, we stayed in touch through that whole time and we're very excited to have him come. I think he's a perfect fit for what we do."
Do you think Dominic Glover is going to come in and be a quick impact player right away?
"Dominic Glover is a guy that we knew in high school very well. Then he went to Oregon and sustained an injury and decided that he was going to come back and play again. So he went to a junior college to prove that he could play and he played very well. Everything just worked out; with his knowledge of us and our knowledge of him it was just a good fit for him and us. We think that he will be able to come in and impact our team immediately."
Do you think there are going to be any true freshmen coming in and playing right away?
"I think that somebody here will surprise us, in that regard, but I don't think it will be that much of a surprise because they're all good football players. As far as how they fit in right away, we'll make that decision for sure about half way through our fall camp. I tell them all to come ready to play and we'll see from there. I really like the redshirt guys; we did play seven true freshmen last year, which was a record for us, but counting our walk-ons we still redshirted 25 guys. So we've got a lot of development going on with that group but it will all play out. I wouldn't even want to step into the world where I start thinking about who's going to be able to play right away from this group. We obviously feel very strongly that they'll all play eventually and they'll be very good competitors, but as far as true freshmen it'd be great if we could redshirt them all."
Are there any other players out there that you're still looking at?
"Yes, we are still actively recruiting one player and it will probably be about a two week process."
"I'm very excited for the Beavers to get back into the Bay Area. It was really fun to be able to sign the two players from Oakland Tech, I'm excited about that. We actually spotted Fred Thompson early and I went down during the bye-week to watch Fred play and was given a heads up by the coach to take a look at number 13, Ryan Murphy. I wouldn't have even needed a heads up because he gained about 225 yards rushing that day and made about 15 tackles in that game, so he was pretty easy to see. When we found out more about him, I talked to the coach, and we offered him a scholarship. I'm very excited to get these two guys from Oakland Tech; I think they're going to be great additions to the team."
Every recruit on the list is from up and down the West coast or Hawaii, nothing from Texas or Oklahoma, did you venture out or did you meet your needs just staying on the coast?
"We did venture out and we made a run at one player in particular in Oklahoma who ended up signing with Arkansas at the end. It was a little harder because of our numbers. We couldn't get too many names on this thing early because we couldn't over commit ourselves too far with the number of offers. We'll get back on that hard for the Spring in those areas and see what we can come up with for next year. We don't want to lose those connections in Texas, Oklahoma or wherever they might be."
This is not a great class for high school quarterbacks, but there seems to be a sleeper in Sean Mannion, what do you think about that?
"It happens once in a while that you make an offer and you worry about it being an attention grabber for others. Again, I was just proud of the process. We can't claim any kind of superiority of knowing but we felt great about this kid. Watching him throw up close and watching him play, I saw a game live and just meeting him and talking to him I just knew it was a perfect Oregon State fit, both as a person and as a player. And yes, I am grateful to those guys who, when they commit, see it through to the end and sign with us. We've been fortunate with that this year, we didn't get any negative surprises on signing day because we got guys who did follow through with a very loyal commitment and Sean was a tremendous example with that. I think as people learned more about him as the year went on he did get more attention and I really appreciate him staying with us."
Sean's coach said that he's very coachable, what do you think?
"He's a coach's kid. John, his dad, is a coach there and the athletic director at the high school and coaches defense with the team. From the time we met him, talked to him, all that, we knew that he was a really good individual. He really is a sponge. I think, like I said, as a person, as a player, as a gym rat, quarterback; he'll be a great fit."
How much stock to do you put into having a Top 50 recruiting class?
"Are we in the top 50? I don't know. Not that we wouldn't like to be, I don't discount any of that, but I do like our process. When we decide that a guy is worthy of a scholarship offer, if that guy ever commits and signs we're going to be happy about it because we've gone through a very good process to get to the point of offering. So wherever that puts us in the rankings so be It, I guess. I'm not discounting it at all, I think it'd be great, but it doesn't change our feelings about this class. When I look down name by name I know these guys are good players and good fits and in the end that's what you really want. And some of them frankly, are not going to be ranked very high because they are truly developmental players. This Connor Hamlett is 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, and we love the way he can run. He's not as strong as he's going to be, he's not as fast as he's going to be but he runs well, catches the ball well, has good position, good feet for blocking and will be a tremendous developmental guy. Plus he's got the work ethic and the temperament to be a growth and developmental guy for the Beavers."
Are the listed positions what you project for them or do you think they're going to change?
"I don't even know where Ryan Murphy's listed. He's a no brainer safety, but I think he could easily grow into a Keith Ellison as an outside linebacker but I think we might first try him out at tailback. I mean the guy is a ferocious, tenacious runner and I was impressed the day I saw him. They just couldn't tackle the guy. Also Will Storey, I don't know where he's listed. He will find his way, I've seen him play really good h-back, slot back type guy or defensive player. He to me is a Greg Laybourn type guy who will find some way to play on the field and impact our team."
Final words about the 2010 Oregon State recruiting class...
"We wanted defensive linemen and we got five guys and I'm really excited about it. Scott Crichton is a perfect defensive end fit. Thomas Molesi is an interior defensive lineman that'll be a great fit. Dominic Glover is that defensive end transfer that will be an immediate impact guy. Fred Thompson is a big, thick athlete and will be an outstanding defensive player or even a two-way player if he wanted to be. Mana Tuivailala will be a mystery man for a lot but I'm really excited for his potential, I think we got a good one there.
"Donell Welch is a fast linebacker who fits the Beaver mode perfectly. Miike Bibbee, as I already mentioned, we know him well. Love his work ethic, love the fact that he was a runner and he'll be a good inside linebacker for us. Will Storey is one of the best athletes in our state, he's a versatile guy who's a great football player; played quarterback, slotback, safety, linebacker and will definitely find a niche here.
"Trevor Romaine will probably greyshirt and be coming in as Justin Kahut is finishing and we'll have four full years after that to be able to participate. Bruce Reed has been the best evaluator of kickers and punters in our school's history. We've recruited, arguably, some of the best guys that Bruce has evaluated back to the first one in Jose Cortez and Sam Paulescu. It goes on and on, Justin Kahut and Johnny Hecker and now we have Trevor Romaine.
"Tyler Perry is physically almost ready to go as a tight end for us right away. Conner Hamlett will develop into an outstanding player. With that frame, you just can't coach 6-foot-7 and being able to run like he can. Malcolm Marable will be an exciting running back. Roman Sapolu is a really good defensive player but we'd like him as an interior offensive lineman. He's got a great way about him, an outstanding young man and smart, well schooled in the game. So this is our class and we're really excited about it."