CORVALLIS He has only two years to play two seasons, and he hasnt played football since leading Thurston High to the Class 5A championship in 2008. But Tym Pearson is giving the sport a go as a walk-on receiver at Oregon State.
The former all-state quarterback is playing catch-up after joining the Beavers two weeks into training camp, and he is buried on the depth chart behind a talented group of receivers, playing with the scout team.
Its a gamble, but I love to play football, the 6-2, 215-pound Pearson said Monday. Im thankful for the opportunity. Im still dealing with the playbook, but Im getting it down and trying to help out where I can.
Pearson was the 5A player of the year as a senior at Thurston, throwing for 3,760 yards and 44 touchdowns while rushing for 877 yards and 19 TDs. After he signed a letter-of-intent with Portland State, then-Viking coach Jerry Glanville called him the best high school football player in the state.
But Pearson, a three-sport standout and an all-state center fielder who was drafted in the 35th round by Colorado in 2009, never set foot on the PSU campus. He opted for baseball, and pro scouts recommended he play a year of junior-college ball to improve his draft stock. JC players can be re-drafted after their freshman year.
Pearson played the 2010 season at Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco, Wash., after which he was taken in the 41st round of the draft by the New York Yankees. Again, he chose not to sign pro, and played last spring for Lane CC.
After speaking with football and baseball coaches at Oregon State the Beavers had recruited him for baseball out of high school Pearson opted to walk on in football. But he had to take care of academic deficiencies this summer, delaying his start in camp.
Tyms an interesting prospect, receivers coach Brent Brennan said. He has a good body, hes strong, he has some good quickness and catches the ball well. He dropped into a group (of receivers) that has some good players, but so far, so good.
Pearson has never played receiver before.
Its new, but I like it, he said. I have a lot to work on. Im trying to get used to it.
OSU coach Pat Casey said he has spoken with Pearson about turning out for baseball after the football season ends.
Thatll be up to Tym, Casey said. We know a lot about him. Holy cow, hes a hell of an athlete.
Pearson isnt sure if hell try baseball at OSU.
Well see, he said. For right now, its just football for me.