I'm not big on ranking coaches because it's an even more difficult task than trying to rank teams. If there were coach rankings in the the Pac-12 though, Mike Riley would have to be considered near the top of the list.
What he and his staff do year after year with Oregon State teams with less raw talent than their conference opponents is amazing. And they don't run schemes that anyone would attempt to label as gimmicky either. They play sound football and maximize the talent on their team.
This year's recruiting class the coaching staff is putting together is not going to be much different than any previous groups in recent years. It's small on big names and high rankings like always, but based on track record, we'll probably be talking about at least of few in this current group as being severely underrated coming out of high school.
Riley and his staff still have some work to do to finish out what they've started for 2015, but there are some players to take notice of that are already committed to the Beavers.
Instant impact commit
Choosing a junior college player for this might be too much of an obvious choice, but it doesn't make it the wrong one. Shalom Luani is the second ranked safety from the JC ranks this cycle and shows the potential to be a dynamic defender in the Pac-12.
His best fit is as in the box safety because he hits like a truck and fills like a linebacker in run support, but he also has great ball skills in coverage. He might only have a 3 star composite ranking, but he has the talent to make an impact at just about any school in the nation. He's a blue chip recruit and should immediately make the Beavs defence better next season.
Don't sleep on ______
In my opinion, one of the most underrated states in terms of producing talent every year is Hawaii. The players there do not get the exposure that others from the mainland get so everything becomes a little skewed in terms of the rankings. Most of the players don't get to compete in the 7 on 7 and individual skill camps that not only force recruiting sites to take notice of them, but also help them improve through competition in the off-season.
3 star safety commitment Solomon Matautia is one of the top players in Hawaii that would be receiving more attention in recruiting if he was from somewhere like California. But if he was from somewhere else and receiving more attention, then maybe he wouldn't be heading to Oregon State next year so OSU fans should probably consider it a good thing.
Matautia is another strong safety type of player that tackles very well in space, but might not be the most fluid player in coverage. I have no issue with that though because I believe that he'll ultimately end up adding weight and being a very good linebacker for the Beavers.
He has good ball skills and the best flow in the entire recruiting class. He also has a lot of room to add weight and that's why I think a decent athlete at safety can turn into a great athlete at linebacker that will be able to play against the multiple spread schemes the Beavers defense will face in the Pac-12 every year.
Big fish still on the reel
I swear I'm not trying to turn this post into a Hawaii prep football love fest, but the big player still out there for the Beavs is also from the Aloha state. Fred Ulu-Perry is a stud interior lineman that has a 4 star ranking and is also currently committed to UCLA.
He plays nasty in the run game, but also displays very good feet as a pass blocker. I watched him in person at The Opening and to me he was the one of the best offensive lineman in attendance. 5 star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie was destroying everyone at the camp all week, but Ulu-Perry was the only player I saw handle him on a couple of reps. I think he has the potential to be an All-American some day down the line.
It's not going to be easy to pull him away from UCLA, but the effort to do so would be more than worth it if he flipped his commitment.
OSU just added two new commitments in the past week with tight end Matt Snyder and safety Dameon Baber. Neither of those players are going to make them shoot up the rankings, but they fit with the kind of prospects that the Beavers bring in every recruiting class. Riley and his staff find players with room to grow, both literally and figuratively, as football players and know how to help them achieve that growth.
Players like Ulu-Perry and Luani are going to continue to be few and far between in recruiting for OSU, but if they can win a couple of those battles along with finding the right other pieces, they'll continue to be competitive every year in the conference.