Four of OSU's top signees come with high expectations

Oregon State’s 2013

recruiting class covers a lot of bases, including junior-college help at defensive tackle, plenty of promising wide receivers and something at just about every

position group.

The Portland Tribune hooked up via telephone with four of the best for an inside look at their thoughts about becoming Beavers:

SEAN HARLOW, 6-4, 270- pound offensive tackle, San Clemente, Calif.

Harlow’s genes are blue-chip. His father, Pat, was a Morris Trophy-winning O-tackle at Southern Cal and played eight NFL seasons with New England and Oakland from 1991-98.

So it was a bit of a surprise when the Trojans were one of two Pac-12 teams — the other was Stanford — not to offer a scholarship to Pat’s offspring.

“Initially, I was disappointed,” says Sean Harlow, a first-team all-state selection. “They kind of led me on. Once I got to know (the Trojans) a little better, I knew what they were about.”

Harlow first declared for Washington before switching to Oregon State in early January.

The Beavers “were my first offer as a junior,” he says. “They were my second choice initially, but I always like them. I just decided they were a pretty solid deal for me. On my official (visit), I felt a lot closer to the coaching staff. I feel like it’s going to be the best place for me.”

O-line coach Mike Cavanaugh was the clincher.

“I’ve been really close with him the whole time,” Harlow says. “He has coached a lot of great offensive linemen. He’s tough, but I like his personality. He cares about you. I know he’ll be with me both on and off the field.”

Harlow was a three-year starter at O-tackle at San Clemente High and started a few games on the D-line this fall for a Triton team that went 5-5 and didn’t make the playoffs. He was dominant as a run-blocker.

“I get after it pretty good,” he says. “I use my physicality, and I’m technically sound.”

Harlow graduated from high school last week and will enroll at Oregon State for spring term.

“Might as well get up there and get acclimated and get some reps in during spring ball,” says Harlow, a 3.0 student who will major in kinesiology.

Harlow is setting his sights high right away.

“I don’t plan to redshirt,” he says. “I’m hoping to start next season. I’m not saying that will happen, but that’s the plan.”

DASHON HUNT, 5-10, 180- pound cornerback, Westlake Village, Calif.

Hunt, a second-team all-state selection ranked the nation’s No. 25 cornerback by, received offers from every Pac-12 team except Southern Cal, Oregon and Stanford. It came down to Oregon State and Nebraska.

“It was Corvallis in general that made me want to go to school there,” Hunt says. “I fell in love with the area. I see myself being comfortable there for the next four or five years.”

During the past two seasons at Westlake High, Hunt scored five times on pick-six interceptions and three more times on returns after fumble recoveries. He runs the 40 in 4.5 and says he loves the contact part of the game.

“I’m not scared to come up and make a hit,” he says. “And I have good instincts for the ball.”

A 3.3 student who earned a 3.8 gpa the first term of his senior year, Hunt plans to major in kinesiology and sports medicine with a minor in business. He’ll enroll at OSU this summer and take part in the Bridge Program.

“I’m really hoping I can step in and start as a true freshman,” he says.

KYLE KEMPT, 6-5, 200 quarterback, Massillon, Ohio

Oregon State was in need of a QB in this class and late in the process lucked into landing Kempt, who was left hanging with a coaching change after committing early to Cincinnati. When Tommy Tuberville replaced Butch Jones, he pulled several offers made by the Jones staff, including that of Kempt.

“I understood,” Kempt says. “It’s business.”

Kempt pondered offers from Toledo and Connecticut before deciding during his official visit to Corvallis two weeks ago to sign with Oregon State.

“I’m very excited,” Kempt says. “I feel really comfortable with the program. It’s been a great program for a lot of years. Playing in the Pac-12 is awesome. The academics are huge for me. I’m going to major in engineering, and I had a great talk with the people in that school there. They sold it well.”

That was important to Kempt, who is the epitome of a student-athlete. He boasts a weighted 4.25 GPA and says he will serve as valedictorian of his senior class.

Kempt can play a little football, too. He became the career passing record-holder at one of the nation’s most-storied prep football programs this fall, finishing with 6,034 yards passing for 62 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. A three-year starter, he quarterbacked Massillon to an accumulative record of 25-9.

“We played out of the (shotgun) quite a bit this year,” he says. “We were heavy up-tempo, but we threw the ball a lot.”

It’s ironic that Kempt will be a Beaver. His grandfather, Herm Meister, was a kicker at Oregon in 1965. His older brother, Cody, started his college career as a QB at Oregon before finishing at Montana State, where their father, Mychal, played outside linebacker.

The Kempts lived in Beaverton until Mychal — who works for Diebold ATM security systems — was transferred to Ohio. Kyle quarterbacked the freshman team at Aloha High before finishing his high school career at Massillon.

“I was more on the Duck side of things growing up,” he says. “It’s come full-circle for me after moving to Ohio. Massillon was a blast — Ohio is my home now — but I’m very happy to be going to Oregon State. It’s been a heck of a journey.”

QB Sean Mannion was Kempt’s host during his official visit.

“What a cool guy,” Kempt says. “We’re kind of the same — both pretty laid-back people who take football very seriously. We got a chance to talk a lot about every-day life.”

Asked to describe his style, Kempt says, “I’m more a pocket passer, but I have the athleticism to move around. I’m good with accuracy and timiung routes. I take a lot of pride in film study and understanding defenses.”

Kempt, who will play pitcher and first baseman for the Tiger baseball team this spring, weighs 200 pounds, “but that’s skinny for me,” he says. “I’m going to fill out more and work hard on gaining strength through my college years.”

JORDAN VILLAMIN, 6-5, 215 wide receiver, Etiwanda, Calif.

Villamin eliminated Utah early and decided on Oregon State after a visit to Fresno State.

“The Beavers were my first offer, and they were pretty much my choice from the beginning,” Villamin says. “I felt comfortable with the players, and I love the area up there. I like the scenery and the small town built around the college. The people are so nice. Everybody knows you when you play football at Oregon State.”

Villamin’s friendship with another OSU wide receiver recruit, Victor Bolden of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., helped seal the deal.

“We’ve been talking about going to the same place for a while, really since our sophomore year,” Villamin says.

Villamin caught 46 passes for 659 yards and 10 TDs for a 4-6 Etiwanda team as a senior. He has grown an inch and gained 15 pounds since the start of the season.

“I feel like I’m a big-play receiver,” he says. “I can catch the ball in a crowd.”

He’ll take the athletic training program at OSU and doesn’t mind if he redshirts in the fall.

“I’ll try to play right away,” he says, “but if I redshirt, it will give me more time to develop.”

His long-term goal is set high.

“I want to break Mike Hass’ records,” he says. “I’m going to try to be the best receiver ever at Oregon State.”

Twitter: @kerryeggers

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