Erickson Meets The Press

Feb. 7, 2001

'We're pretty much finished up. As you can see on the list, we signed 25 players, 8 of them junior college players, all of whom hopefully can have an impact on our football team next year. Obviously, we lose a lot of football players in certain areas and some of these junior college players can help us. The high school group of 17 players is obviously the best group we've recruited since I've been here and probably one of the best groups I've ever recruited, even when I was at the University of Miami, so it's an outstanding group.

'Again, I don't get caught up with rankings and all those different things because everybody recruits differently. We went 11-1 with recruiting classes that weren't in the top 100 in the country, so it's really irrelevant. But what's happened to us because of the successes we've had, is that we've been able to get into some living rooms to talk to some athletes that Oregon State hasn't been able to do, and we've had success recruiting. The great thing that's happened to is, that we've been able to compete and win battles with everybody in our league, and that's special too. Sometimes what happens at the end - and it's a good thing for us - the last four or five days, you don't know who you're going to get because they're very heavily-recruited. I remember Matt (Lubick, assistant coach) and I were talking about it earlier - the first year we were here, we never had to worry at the end of recruiting because it was us recruiting against nobody, and that worked out pretty good because we won that battle most of the time. Now, it's a little bit different story. But, again, it's just a tremendous year for us. We're very, very excited about it, very excited about these players. But until they come here and put the pads on and play, who knows? I judge recruiting classes four years from now, not right now. The recruiting class we had two years ago with the junior college players, nobody rated it very high, it's 11-1, I'd rate it pretty high. We ended up fourth in the country, so that's a pretty good group.

(Jayson Jean-Baptiste, defensive end, San Jose City College) 'He'll be here in the fall. He's a guy who's got tremendous speed, very similar to the ends that we've had.'

(D.J. Coote, cornerback, Ventura College) 'We feel that he's a guy who can come in and compete, who can start. He's a very heavily-recruited player from the junior college ranks and we're very fortunate to have him.'

(Andre Cyrus, wide receiver, Mt. San Antonio College) 'Hopefully he'll be here in the fall. He's a guy who, in my opinion, is very similar to Chad Johnson. Again, we'll see.'

(Jermaine Jackson, tight end, Mt. San Antonio College) 'We lost two tight ends who were good players for us. Jermaine Jackson will be here for spring football - as will D.J. Coote. Jermaine is an older guy, was in the service, was a good player at Mt. SAC and will come in and give us some depth at tight end and help us.'

(James Lee, defensive tackle, College of the Redwoods) 'He's from Salem. He will be here in the fall as a defensive tackle.'

(Jason Lowe, linebacker, Cerritos College) 'He's a linebacker who we felt was the best junior college linebacker in California. He'll be here for spring football. He's an outside linebacker, so that will give us some depth. We've got Seig (Richard Seigler) coming back, he's an outstanding player, James Allen, Nick Barnett ... so we're in pretty good shape with the addition of him. He'll really make a difference for us.'

(Travon Magee, tight end, Santa Monica College) 'He's a tight end, 6-foot-7 and all of 6-foot-7, 250 pounds out of Santa Monica. He's a very talented young man. He signed with Oregon out of high school, didn't qualify, went to junior college and he'll be here in the fall.'

(Alvin Steen, defensive end, Los Angeles Harbor College) 'He's out of LA Harbor, a defensive end, a very good athlete and he'll be here in the spring.'

'Some of those players will be here for spring football, and that's really going to help them. The others won't be here until fall, but that's how it goes with junior college players.'

'As far as our high school class, it's really, really outstanding. When you talk about that, you start right at the top with the quarterback, Derek Anderson.

(Derek Anderson, quarterback, Scappoose High, Ore.) 'It's pretty well-documented. He won the state championship, he's 6-foot-6, he's averaging about 30 points per game in basketball right now. He's a tremendous athlete. He's the quarterback of the future, he's a talent, and was very, very heavily-recruited. We're very fortunate to have him.'

(Henry Anderson, defensive end, McClymonds High, Calif.) 'He's a great athlete, and an outstanding basketball player.'

(Jayson Boyd, wide receiver, John W. North High, Calif.) 'His father played with coach (Michael) Gray in the Canadian Football League. He's 6-foot-4, he's probably even taller than that, 190-some pounds. He's already run 49-flat or less in the 400 meters, so he's got that kind of speed. He's not quite the athlete that Patrick McCall is, who's standing right back there (motions to back of room), but nobody is, nobody has that kind of speed and athletic ability. Right, Pat? I just wanted to compliment you. Now go down and lift and work out.'

(Trent Bray, linebacker, Pullman High, Wash.) 'He's coach (Craig) Bray's son, out of Pullman High School. He was in our camp. He's just a football player. He's a middle linebacker. He's what it's all about. He's a blue-collar guy who is just going to play his rear end off for you. We're fortunate to have him.'

(Travis Brown, cornerback, Maryvale High, Ariz.) 'He can play receiver or defensive back. He's out of Phoenix, one of three players we got out of that area. All these guys were highly-recruited, I'm not going to get into that ...'

(Ryan Cozzetto, punter/free safety, Mountain Pointe High, Ariz.) 'He's coach (Dan) Cozzetto's son. He's a defensive back, can play safety, but he's also a punter and one of the better punter's in the country. Obviously, there's a need at that particular position.'

(Josh Farrell, tailback, Elsinore High, Calif.) 'He was very heavily-recruited. He had an outstanding year. His father played for me when I was an assistant at Fresno State. He's got great speed. Two years from now, when we lose Patrick (McCall) and Ken (Simonton), we're going to need some running backs. This was a real area of need for us.'

(Jason Fyda, defensive tackle, Norco High, Calif.) 'He's a defensive lineman, an offensive lineman - he can play either. He was in our camp. He played with Derek Hall, who's here now. I think we had him timed at 4.8 or something, at 260 pounds, in our camp. He played offense in high school, we're going to start him on defense. He could end up playing both places. He's just a football player.'

(Dan Haines, tight end, Lewiston High, Idaho) 'He's the one that I went to see when our plane had an emergency landing, so he'd better be very good. But he's got great size, he's a tremendous athlete, the kind of tight end that we have who is going to develop and get bigger as time goes on.'

(Josh Hawkins, wide receiver, Long Beach Poly High, Calif.) 'He's one of the best receivers in California, out of Long Beach Poly. Coach (Eric) Yarber recruited him. Josh is probably the most highly-recruited receiver in the state. Long Beach Poly is perennially one of the great programs in the state of California. He has a chance to come in and play, he's an outstanding player.'

(Steve Jackson, tailback, Eldorado High, Nev.) 'He might be one of the better high school tailbacks I've ever seen, out of Las Vegas. He's 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, has run the 100 meters in 10.6, something like that, won the state meet in Nevada last year. Just an outstanding player, recruited by everybody. Matt (Lubick) did a great job with him, got him committed early. Unlike some, he stayed committed. We're excited about having both those running backs (Jackson and Farrell) for our future.'

(Rodney Landingham, Sonora High, Calif.) 'He's a twin. His brother, Randy, went to Nebraska. They both visited different places - they both visited Washington, they both visited Nebraska and here. Randy is going to Nebraska and Rodney is coming here. They finally made a decision that they're going to split up. It's great, because Rodney is a corner who has tremendous speed and can really run. That's really important. He has a chance to come in and do some things for us.'

(Joe Lemma, defensive end, Westlake High, Calif.) 'He is a guy who can really run, the kind of end we really need in our defense, that can run 4.7 and is going to get bigger as time goes on. We're excited to have him.'

(Dante Nicholson, Diamond Bar High, Calif.) 'He's a different story. He was heavily recruited a year ago, signed with Washington, didn't pass his test, and so he took some classes this fall and winter and has made tremendous gains on his tests and is going to pass his test. He decided to come to Oregon State, so we're excited about him. He was one of those five-star guys last year, when they talk about stars - I'm not sure what they mean, but he's an outstanding football player.'

(Jake Pratt, defensive tackle, Sprague High, Ore.) 'He played both offense and defense. We're looking at him on either side of the football. I look at him and he's very athletic, the kind of guy we'd like to have as an offensive tackle. I don't know if I'm telling you anything, Jake, but just listen. But he can play either side of the football, and we'll probably start him out on defense and then we'll go from there. He's a great athlete.'

(Chaz Scott, Hamilton High, Ariz.) 'He's a guy who can play safety, he can move to linebacker, he can really run. He's a guy like Richard Seigler that you can put at linebacker that can really run, the kind of guy we really need in our defense like Nick Barnett, like a lot of the guys that we have on our defensive football team.'

(Bill Swancutt, Sprague High, Ore.) 'He might be as good or the best we've got in our class. He committed to us a long time ago, and you kind of lose track of him because he wasn't in the recruiting wars. He told Washington, he told all these other schools that he was coming to Oregon State, and he might be one of the better players in the west as a defensive lineman. We're real excited about having Bill, he's got a chance to come in and maybe play as a freshman. He's very athletic, he can run and do those types of things.'

'This group of high school players is extremely good, with the addition of the junior college players, we think it's a good class. Again, we'll find out when we sit up here a couple-three years from now and see what our record is. That kind of is what judges classes. And everybody judges players a little differently. My evaluation or our evaluation of a player may be different than Washington's evaluation of a player, what they do offensively and defensively. Like I said at the beginning, I don't pay much attention to any of that stuff. We know what we need to be successful in this program, and that's how we recruit.'

(Any commitments in the last few weeks or days?) 'You always have some at the end. You can go down the list ... Henry Anderson, Travis Brown, Josh Hawkins, Dante Nicholson - today. Matt (Lubick) ended up getting him today, because he was going to go someplace else. But I don't know, because of the commitments or because they just committed, but the biggest thing is , we won. That has a heck of a lot to do with recruiting. That's the No. 1 thing. And being on TV, and doing what we did in the Fiesta Bowl, and having success. But even more than that, I believe, is the commitment that's been made by President Risser and by Mitch (Barnhart, athletic director). As far as our indoor facility now, somebody's actually doing something out there. Our commitment down the road to continue to improve our facilities, as far as the stadium in the next couple years. And then the school itself - I really believe you see more parents being interested in students going to a school like Oregon State, get out of the city and the populated areas. I really believe that's happening. It's obviously happening here, I believe it's happening in Eugene, too. Those are all factors. But I believe the stability of our coaching staff is huge. Obviously, the coaches staying together, the contract I was fortunate enough to sign that Mitch and President Risser gave me for seven years - that type of stability and not going to interview for every job in the country. That gives you a little stability in your program, and that's important.'

(Is Derek Anderson likely to compete for the backup quarterback spot right away?) 'I'm sure he can, but we've got to look at Derek and decide what we want to do with him. Are we going to waste a year for him to be a backup? I don't know. That's something that we'll address as time goes on. Spring football is real important for us. Now that Jonathan (Smith) is out, we've got to find out who is No. 2 and No. 3 going into fall camp. With Nick Stremick and Shayne House healthy now, and Adam Rothenfluh and Ryan Kanekeberg, the two young guys. I can't really answer that question right now. Physically? He probably could, but we have to look at the future of this program as far as, Do we waste a year having him as a backup?'

(What does it say about OSU's program that you got top in-state players?) 'That's the key. As you look at it over the years, that hasn't happened. A lot of the players have left the state. To me, being able to sign the players that we did in the State of Oregon is the key to this program. When we can get the best and keep them here, then that's what this program is all about.'

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