Viking coach has signing surprises
Strong crop of JC, high school recruits commit to PSU
When the list of football recruits came out Wednesday afternoon at Portland State, football coach Tim Walsh was a little impressed.
And that was before Shaun Bodiford came aboard.
Bodiford, a 6-1 receiver, originally signed with the Vikings out of high school in 2001 but played the past two seasons for Butte Junior College in Oroville, Calif.
By Thursday, Bodiford already was listed on the PSU roster and was announcing he might play defense, too.
'We have a great class of junior college signees,' Walsh says. 'And some of the high school guys, frankly, I'm shocked we got.
'I think we addressed some areas we needed to address.'
Portland State went 4-7 last year and tied for last in the Big Sky Conference, mostly because its offensive and defensive lines performed poorly.
The recruits, especially the JC additions and two of three transfers who enrolled during winter term, address those areas.
Junior Adrian Limbrick, a 315-pound offensive lineman, had signed with Division 1 Louisiana-Lafayette last year. Senior Chuck Jones, a 6-4, 275-pound defensive lineman, played in seven games for Kansas last season.
Walsh says the coaching staff worked extra hard, harder than in past years, making sure the transfers would fit in with the Vikings' playing style and work ethic.
'We did our homework on these guys,' he says.
The JC class also includes Jimmy Ko, a 6-1 defensive end from Cerritos JC in Norwalk, Calif., and Faitasi Lefiti, a 6-1 offensive lineman from Pago Pago, American Samoa, by way of College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Among the 11 prep signees are Dominick Carrie, a 5-9 running back whose brother Reynard was a senior last year at PSU, and four defensive linemen, including Taylor Hoppe, a 6-6 end from Edmonds, Wash., and Johnathan Benjamin-Nichols, a 6-3 end from Oakland, Calif.
Grant senior Aaron Dickson is also among the prep signees. Dickson was a key reason that Grant reached the state playoffs and won a first-round game last fall. He was signed as a defensive back.
PSU went after 6-2 North Medford quarterback Beau Hovland after seeing his play during a PSU camp for high school players in summer. He then led the Black Tornado to the Class 4A state championship game.
'He has a feel for leadership,' Walsh says.
Hovland says he likes that the Vikings are a passing team that usually has a strong running game. Senior tailback Ryan Fuqua is among the top backs in Division I-AA.
'It's a fit for me, the style of offense they play,' Hovland says. 'They like throwing the ball and have a consistent running game when healthy. I like their schemes, and it's close to home for me.'
Hovland plans to redshirt this fall. Joe Wiser, who prepped at Tigard, is scheduled to return at quarterback after a promising junior season.