Coming off a competitive 2019 football season and with enhanced facilities ranked No. 23 in the nation, the Oregon State Beavers are ready to welcome better talent to Corvallis.
One huge domino fell for them Wednesday afternoon when Damir Collins, the nation's No. 5 all-purpose back and four-star recruit per 247Sports, decided to stay in-state and committed to Oregon State.
"I'll be committing to, you already know, hometown hero, Oregon State University," said Collins making his decision on the Jefferson High turf.
Coach Smith is excited for the Beavers' newest commitment.
DAM Right 🔶⬛️— Jonathan Smith (@Coach_Smith) June 17, 2020
Same with running backs coach Michael Pitre who served as one of the primary recruiters of Collins.
The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Jefferson running back ran for 2,453 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior last season leading his team to a playoff berth in 6A. He had been ranked No. 2 until this morning when 247Sports updated the rankings.
Collins is the seventh commit of the 2021 Beavers recruiting class that the school hopes will be the program's best in years. Oregon State already has a commitment from 247Sports four-star inside linebacker Easton Mascarenas, the highest-graded defensive commitment in program history, and made the top-12 for 247Sports four-star Derek Wilkins.
As a part of the 2021 recruiting class, Collins will arrive on campus following the upcoming junior season from Oregon State star running back Jermar Jefferson. If Jefferson decides to enter the 2021 NFL Draft following his junior season, then Collins would most likely be competing with Bj Baylor for the starting running back spot in Corvallis.
With Jefferson struggling through injury last season as a sophomore, the coaching staff elected to play him five games instead of only four to utilize a redshirt season. The team elected to do the opposite with wide receiver Trevon Bradford who sat out against Washington State to return as a redshirt senior in 2020.
Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith has stated the program wants to secure in-state talent when they can: “We do want to recruit this state. There’s good players in this state, so we’re always going to chase guys in this state that we think can fit.”
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Beavers Podcast with host Ron Callan and special guest Oregon State women’s basketball senior Aleah Goodman].
When Collins announced his top-four of Oregon State, Cal, Arizona State (later swapped out for Ole Miss), Maryland, on May 1st, The Oregonian's Andrew Nemec reported that Collins was thought to be leaning towards the Oregon Ducks, but the hiring of former Jefferson head coach Don Johnson as Director of High School Relations meant the program could no longer pursue Collins. NCAA rules mean that the Ducks cannot recruit any players from Jefferson High School for the next two recruiting classes.
247Sports National Recruiting Editor Brandon Huffman compares Collins to Tarik Cohen.
Runs with surprising power but doesn’t carry the ideal size for an every down back. Shows burst through the line of scrimmage and superb hands out of the backfield as a receiver. Shifty with ability to make defenders miss. Can line up in the slot and be used on sweeps and as an open field runner while also being able to return punts and kicks. Projects as multi-year Power 5 starter and projects as third day pick [in the NFL Draft].
You can watch his junior season highlights here: