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BY KERRY EGGERS/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/New Beavers football coach expects to sign at least 20 players, but not all until January

Jonathan Smith was on the recruiting trail Monday for the first time as head football coach at Oregon State. 

He didn't have a lot of help.

Smith hasn't yet named his staff of assistant coaches, and none have cleared university requirements to begin work. Smith said he is still deciding on hires to his staff.SMITH

"It is painful if you make some wrong decisions," said Smith, who was in California on Monday. "I'd rather be late than wrong. They have to be the right fit for this place, and they have to be elite football coaches, guys I can trust."

Smith said he expected to begin announcing coaching hires in the next couple of days.

Smith's only help with recruiting on Monday was Jake Cookus, a quality control analyst at OSU the past two seasons who worked with special teams this fall. Cookus, a former safety for the Beavers, was a teammate of Smith's from 1998-2001.

The staffs of Gary Andersen and Cory Hall had 13 verbal commitments from high school seniors. Smith has spoken with the majority of those players and expects to have many of them on hand for a recruiting visit in Corvallis this weekend.

Smith said the Beavers will sign "at least 20" players with the 2018 recruiting class, but he would not put a number on how many of those would sign on the early signing date, Dec. 20.

"We're going to have some scholarships in January," Smith said.

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@kerryeggers

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