The 10 best Oregon State recruiting wins under Jonathan Smith
Head Coach Jonathan Smith
The moment Jonathan Smith was named head coach of the Oregon State football program on November 29, 2017, the Beaver football team has been on an upward trend.
From starting quarterback in Corvallis, Oregon in 1998-2001 to head coach in 2018, Smith was the perfect hire to lead Oregon State's future.
In 2019 and just his second season as head coach, OSU improved statistically in nearly every possible category on the field, won three road league games for the first time since 2013, and tied for the best winning percentage improvement in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Beavs are gaining momentum on the recruiting trail as well. Let's break down the top recruits signed by Jonathan Smith in his tenure at Oregon State.
2018: Isaac Hodgins
Younger brother to Isaiah Hodgins, who is arguably one of the best wide receivers to come through Corvallis, Oregon.
Isaac was a three-star recruit from Berean Christian High School in Oakley, California. The 6-foot, 264 defensive lineman made 11 starts his freshman season (2018) and recorded 30 tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks, with two quarterback hurries. He started all 12 games in 2019 for the Beavs and recorded 18 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one pass breakup.
Hodgins was a huge part of the Beavs run defense improvement from finishing last in the Pac-12 conference in 2018 to jumping two spots in 2019.
2018: Jesiah Irish
One of the bright, young rising stars in this Beavers wide receiver group.
Jesiah Irish was a three-star prospect from Mt. Si High School in Snoqualime, Washington. The 5-foot-11, 168-pound receiver played in four games in 2018 before utilizing the NCAA’s redshirt rule. He caught two passes for 23 yards at Stanford that season.
In 2019, Irish played in eight games. In just two seasons in Corvallis, he has six catches for 108 yards and one touchdown. Irish also has seen time returning punts on special teams.
2018: Jermar Jefferson
Jermar Jefferson will go down as one of the best running backs in Oregon State history. And he is just entering his junior year.
The 5-foot-10, 208-pound running back has played in 21 games making 15 starts, ranks No. 12 All-Time at Oregon State with 2,065 rushing yards. Jefferson has recorded 10 games with over 100+ rushing yards.
After his freshman season (2018), Jefferson was named a Freshman All-American by The Athletic, ESPN, USA Today, the FWAA and 247Sports.
And he was rated just a three-star coming out of high school (Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California.)
Heading into his junior year, Jefferson is already named to the Athlon Sports preseason All-Pac-12 First Team and Phil Steele preseason All-Pac-12 Second Team.
2018: Brandon Kipper
Throwing Brandon Kipper on here as well although he played his first season of collegiate football at the University of Hawai’i.
The 6-foot-6, 304 offensive lineman transferred to Oregon State in 2018 and played in three games before utilizing the NCAA’s redshirt rule.
In 2019, Kipper played and started in all 12 games and finished the season as an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. He allowed just one sack this season. It was this season that Oregon State’s running backs finished fourth in the conference in rushing yards per game (156.7).
2018: Matthew Tago
Matthew Tago co-leads one of most dynamic linebacker groups in all of the Pac-12 conference.
The 6-foot-2, 221-pound outside linebacker was a four-star prospect from Quartz Hill High School in Palmdale, California. Tago enters his junior season having played in 19 games with two starts, 34 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery as well as four quarterback hurries.
Tago alongside Hamilcar Rasheed Jr. will be a scary sight for opposing Pac-12 teams this upcoming season (should there be one).
2019: Omar Speights
Another piece to this outstanding linebacker core is sophomore Omar Speights.
The 6-foot-1, 227-pound inside linebacker was a four-star prospect from Crescent Valley High School in Oregon (only played there one year after moving from Philadelphia).
Speights has recorded six starts, appeared in all 12 games and was second on the team with 73 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. The 73 tackles marked the third-most nationally by a freshman (true or redshirt).
Ended his freshman season named to The Athletic Freshman All-America First-Team and FWAA, USA Today and 247 Sports Freshman All-America.
2019: Nashon Wright
The gift that keeps on giving is Nashon Wright.
Let’s just start with his seize. The 6-foot-4, 184-pound defensive back started his collegiate career at Laney College and won the 2018 state championship. During this championship run, Wright finished with 17 tackles, four interceptions and credited with three pass breakups.
In his first season at Oregon State (2019), Wright played in all 12 games and started in 10. He recorded 34 tackles and three interceptions.
Then, the family business. The nation’s No. 5 JUCO corner Rejzohn Wright, the brother of Nashon, committed to Oregon State back in December. And then there is Alton Julian, a cousin of the Wright brothers. Julian is another transfer who played at the College of San Mateo in 2019 but joined the Oregon State program in January 2020 as a redshirt sophomore. Julian is also a defensive back at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds.
Avery Roberts, Tyjon Lindsey
When the Beavers run defense needed answers, they called upon Nebraska transfer Avery Roberts. The 6-foot-1, 233-pound inside linebacker played in 11 games and made 10 starts in 2019 as a redshirt sophomore in Corvallis. He led the Beavers with 83 tackles including 51 solo and added 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks with four quarterback hurries and two pass breakups. He enters the 2020 season as a Phil Steele preseason All-Pac-12 Third Team and Athlon Sports preseason All-Pac-12 Fourth Team.
Tyjon Lindsey is another one of those speedy, young wide receivers in Corvallis.
Like Roberts, Lindsey also transferred from Nebraska. As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Lindsey played in 10 games and made six starts. He recorded 18 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns and ran the ball eight times for 71 yards and one score.
2020: Chance Nolan
The Beavers landed a huge JUCO quarterback this offseason.
Chance Nolan played college ball at Saddleback College in Menifee, CA where he put up 3315 yards passing with 38 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions in eleven games played.
The 6-foot-2, 186 pound pro style quarterback will be eligible right away and will compete with Tristan Gebbia for the starting job left behind by Jake Luton.
Oregon State beat out other schools competing for Nolan’s commitment such as Utah and Oklahoma State.
Rejzohn Wright, Alton Julian, Tre’Shaun Harrison, Trey Lowe, Charles Moore
We broke down the commitments from Rejzohn Wright and Alton Julian a few slides prior, so let’s take a look at the additional talent and depth Coach Smith has brought into to Corvallis.
Tre’Shaun Harrison was a four-star “athlete” from Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington. He spent his first two collegiate seasons at Florida State University before transferring back to the west coast to Oregon State. The 6-foot-1, 193-pound wide receiver appeared in 24 games over two seasons with the Seminoles, catching 37 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns.
Trey Lowe was ranked a four-star prospect coming out of Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. Lowe transferred to Oregon State from Washington where he played two games as a true freshman in 2018, playing in the 2018 Pac-12 Championship Game and the Rose Bowl. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound back will add depth behind Jermar Jefferson in 2020.
Charles Moore transferred to Oregon State from Auburn in November and did not play due to NCAA transfer rules. He did not play for Auburn at all. The 6-foot-3, 267-pound defensive lineman was a four-star prospect from Louisville High School in Louisville, Mississippi.
Damir Collins, Easton Mascarenas
We can’t talk about Oregon State recruiting without at least mentioned the 2021 class and the start it’s off too.
So far, this class is highlighted by hometown hero, Portland, Oregon native Damir Collins, a four-star all purpose back from Jefferson High School. Collins is ranked the No. 3 recruit in the state of Oregon as well as the No. 5 all purpose back in the nation.
The Beavs also landed four-star inside linebacker Easton Mascarenas from Mission Viejo, California. Mascarenas is the No. 24 recruit from the state of California and the No. 12 ranked inside linebacker nationally.