Erickson Announces Newcomers

Feb. 6, 2002

(On OSU's recruiting class) 'When you talk about this recruiting class, you talk about the junior college players who are already here on campus, and then the high school players who signed today, and the junior college players who signed today. Then you've also got to involve the transfer that we got, because he's just like a junior college player. As I look at it, it's pretty much over with. There's one player out there who hasn't made a decision, and I can't name names in that particular case.

'We all talk about classes, and we think it's an outstanding class. Every year is a little bit different, depending on what your needs are. As you look at recruiting and look at your classes, you try to balance things up - that you have enough players each year at each position. Some years you take offensive linemen more than you would another year, receivers ... it just depends. Generally, you try to get the best athletes that are out there. We feel very good about the athletes that we got. We really felt we needed some immediate help in the offensive front and in the secondary at safety, we really feel we filled that with some junior college help, and help with the transfer in the offensive front.

'Then high school-wise, it was more or less athletes with emphasis in all areas. As we go through it, we try to decide what we want to do and we filled all the areas. We put boxes together before we start recruiting in the fall, as far as our high school players are concerned, and try to fill those boxes. It might be two defensive linemen, or three. Obviously, you don't down a good football player if there's a good football player out there, and we didn't do that. I would compare this class very favorably to last year's recruiting class, but our strengths are in a little different area.

'I know the other thing you look at in recruiting - and I believe people forget about these, particularly the services or the people that do ratings and so forth - is when you recruit, No. 1, you look at the type of person who can fit into your program. Offensivley, defensively, the type of person he is - that's so very important. Everybody evaluates people a little differently. What we evaluate as a good player, the University of Oregon or the University of Washington or USC might not evaluate the guy the same way. Obviously, there are some great players there that everybody likes, but there are players we might like that somebody else doesn't like. That becomes a very big factor - what fits into your program. The other thing as we see all these signings is, how many have qualified or are going to qualify, so how many are going to be on campus in the fall? Hopefully, all of ours will - it looks like they all will - but that's not a guarantee.

'I think when you rate classes, you don't rate them until a couple of years down the road. The other thing is, there are some people that, because of church missions, you may sign them and they might go on a church mission for a couple years, so they're really not involved in the class. All these things become factors when you evaluate recruiting classes and when you look at guys you're going to recruit.

'I've never heard a coach say he didn't have a good recruiting class, so I will continue to go with that and say we had a good recruiting class. I'll let you know in three years.' 'I look at the high school players, and I don't know that there will be a lot of freshmen who will come in and play. I don't think it will be quite like last year, because we have more depth than we did a year ago. But there will be some.

(Comments on each individual, starting with the four transfers who are currently attending OSU)

(Offensive guard Brent Bridges) 'He has three years to play two, which means he has a redshirt year. He plays guard and center. He's very athletic, a guy who fits into what we want to do.'

(Safety Brandon Catanese) 'When we lost Calvin Carlyle (to injury) a year ago, and Jake Cookus ... we're not sure what will happen with Calvin's shoulder. We had some needs at safety, so we went out to the junior colleges and decided we needed to bring in at least one, and we ended up getting two, very good safeties - Brandon is an outstanding player, a hitter, he can run, do all those things. He fits into what we want.'

(Safety Lawrence Turner) 'He's out of Las Vegas originally, he's really in the same class with Richard Siegler and played with or against all those guys down there. He played on that championship team at San Francisco City College and was an outstanding player.'

(Offensive tackle Isaac Aronson, from Cal State-Northridge) 'He's out of Wilson High School in Tacoma and originally went to Cal State-Northridge. It kind of gives you the story of what it's all about - sometimes recruiting isn't a huge science. You miss people, or you go out and recruit people and that's what Northridge did. Isaac was recruited by the Big Sky, I-AA schools and wasn't physically developed when he came out, he wasn't a big, dominating guy out of high school so he ended up going to Northridge. He redshirted and then played two years there, and became probably the best offensive lineman in the Big Sky Conference. The thing about him is, he was very heavily recruited coming out of there. It got down to us and Kansas State at the end. But here's a guy who's really developed, he's got two years to play two, he's got an opportunity to come right in and compete to start for us. We're fortunate to have him.'

'The other three junior college players are all guys we originally recruited out of high school.'

(Wide receiver Deondre Alexander) 'He didn't make his grades, we followed him since he went to junior college and monitored what he was doing academically. He was all-state, and probably one of the best receivers in the state of California. He'll be back, and he has three years to play two. He has tremendous speed and can be a real deep threat for you.'

(Offensive tackle Brandon Lockheart) 'He was very heavily recruited out of high school, he played where Eric Manning played. He signed with Washington out of high school, visited here ... we kind of stayed with him when he was in junior college, kept in contact with him. He was heavily recruited out of junior college but because of what Coach Yarber did as far as that was concerned, this was a place he wanted to come. He's 6-7, 330 and he's all of that, so he's a guy who can come in and we'll see what happens. He's got a chance to play.'

(Defensive back Harvey Whiten) 'He sat out and just went to school, wasn't a full-time student, then played at Compton College and played safety and corner for them, and that's what he's going to play for us. He's an outstanding player. He's got four years to play three, so he'll come in as a sophomore. He ran a 10.5 100 meters his senior year of high school, electronically timed, so he's got great speed. He can really help us down the road.'

(High school players)

(Defensive back/wide receiver Brandon Browner) 'He could be a defensive back or wide receiver. He's a tremendous athlete who can run. Who knows where he'll end up? We recruit athletes who can run ... they can play a lot of positions for us.'

(Tailback Ryan Cole) 'He was a Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington. He's good-sized, not quite as big as Steven Jackson but pretty close. He's the kind of guy we want in the one-back formation.'

(Cornerback Josh Davis and cornerback Robert Herbert) 'Josh was in our camp last summer and we had an opportunity to see him and Robert Herbert. They'd been in the camp a couple years and had great high school careers and were heavily recruited. Being in our camp really helped, so they can both play either safety or corner depending on how they grow and the things that happen to them as time goes on.'

(Wide receiver James Finley) 'He's probably as good a receiver as I've seen in a long time. He's been in our camp a long time, and he was very heavily recruited. He has great size and he's very physical. He's a guy who might have a chance to come in and play as a freshman.'

'Recruiting receivers wasn't real big for us this year because we have a lot returning, and all we've got to do is kind of let guys walk on like we did last year, heck, they just come in and play and we don't have to worry about scholarshipping them (in reference to Cole Classen).'

(Cornerback Arthur Giddens) 'He's a teammate of James Finley and has been in our camp a couple years. He's a cornerback/wide receiver, a great athlete, he was the player of the game in a California all-star game, so he's an outstanding athlete.'

(Offensive guard Adam Koets) 'He's a guy who we really looked at. He's a guy who never played offensive line, he played defensive line but he played both ways this year. He's a real good athlete, and we think he has a chance to be a real good offensive lineman as he grows.'

(Defensive end Josh Linehan) 'The Linehan family has been very close to me over the years. Scott Linehan played for me at the University of Idaho and coached, and just ended up getting the offensive coordinator job with the Minnesota Vikings. Ron Linehan has been a good friend and was the coach at Sunset (High) for a long time, and that's Josh's father. So he's been around football, he's a guy who's got a great frame that will get bigger. He could be play in the defensive front, he could be an offensive lineman - we'll just wait and see. But he's got the Linehan attitude, which is that he just loves to play the game so we're excited about him.'

(Cornerback Kellen Marshall) 'He's an outstanding athlete. He'll play corner for us, he was a running back/defensive back in Las Vegas. He's run a 10.7 100 meters as a junior, so he's got really good speed.'

(Tight end Joe Newton) 'We all know about Joe. When you look at this class, he's got to be a guy who is just going to be a great football player. He was recruited by just about everybody in the country. Hal (Cowan, OSU's sports information director) has him at 6-8, but Hal has me at 6-2, so he's probably about 6-5, maybe 6-6, but he's a great basketball player, he's a great athlete. He's the kind of tight end that we want to have - he can run and catch. He's got a chance to possibly play next year. He's another guy out of Roseburg like Chris Gibson back there (at the rear of the room) and some of the great ones we've had over the years. If he turns out like Chris, we'll be very, very lucky.'

(Offensive guard J.C. Ronnfeldt) 'He was very heavily recruited. He's a guy who wanted to get out of Seattle, he didn't want to go to a big school and he decided during the season that this was where he wanted to go. That happens. As a player, he has a chance to be really good.'

(Defensive end Joe Rudulph) 'He's the kind of defensive end we like in our program. He's a young guy who can run, he's very tall, he's a guy who could put 50 or 60 pounds on in the next few years.'

(Defensive end Brandon Scales) 'He's a really good athlete. He runs the high hurdles, high jumps, does a lot of different things. He's a very good athlete.'

(Defensive tackle Ben Siegert) 'He wasn't a real heavily-recruited guy. He's 6-3, about 265, and he's a linebacker but he's a good athlete and can really move. He's got a great attitude, and I really like him - he's going to be a good football player. He wasn't recruited by a lot of people, but you find a lot of those guys, as you saw on the field the last couple years, who become good players.'

(Linebacker Tone Taupule) 'He was moved around to different positions and ended up settled at linebacker. He's a young guy, probably 6-3 or 6-4, 200 pounds right now but he's going to be 230 pounds and can run like a deer. He's the kind of linebacker we like to have in this program that will grow into it like the Richard Sieglers and Nick Barnetts.'

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