Year one at a program for most coaches isn't always the smoothest in recruiting. There are always going to be recruits lost in the transition from one to coach to the other and every other coach basically has a ridiculous head start that makes it impossible for a new coach to catch up when it comes to establishing relationships with recruits.
Year one for Gary Andersen has been pretty much as expected when you think of it in those terms. Anyone who expected him to bring a ton blue chips to Corvallis in this short amount of time was kidding themselves. He has been gaining commitments left and right down the home stretch though and he just added two more with former Wisconsin commit Elu Aydon and Zachary Lopini Katoa.
What kind of players are the Beavers getting in Aydon and Katoa?
Elu Aydon - 3 star defensive tackle
Out of all the recent commitments for Oregon State, there isn't one with more exciting potential than Aydon. He is a massive young man that is big and strong enough to be plugged into a college defense immediately. He also moves well for a 300 plus pounder.
What might keep him from the field early is the fact that he is extremely raw with his technique, which is not unexpected for a player from American Samoa. His pad level is way too high quite often and he gets caught looking to find the ball in the backfield and stops his feet at times. He also doesn't always bring his hands. When he does stay low and get off the ball quickly, he is a tough player to block. If he can work to improve his pad level, he could be the kind of player that eats up double teams nearly every play.
It also would not be surprising to ultimately end up at guard on offense either. He shows surprisingly good feet as a pass blocker and could end up being a dominating run blocker.
He needs some refinement before he can live up to his potential, but he has an extremely high ceiling.
Zachary Lopini Katoa - 3 star running back
Katoa is rated as 2 star by some sites and I understand why that would be so if they strictly graded him as a running back. Although he has good speed, he doesn't have great burst or explosive potential to break big plays at the next level.
I would list Katoa more as an athlete though because he can do a lot of things well that translate to other positions than just running back. He did it all for his high school as an inside runner with good vision and displayed very good ball skills as a receiver as well. It was his work as a safety though that intrigued me the most. His awareness in coverage stood out to me and he flashes those same ball skills on defense too. He also was a very good tackler that consistently wrapped up and was very good at tracking down players in the open field.
I see that same toughness he has a runner when he tackles on defense too. He's a flat out physical football player. I don't think he has enough speed to turn and run as a safety, but I do feel that the 200 pound Katoa can grow into the linebacker position. I think that is where his future is brightest for the Beavers.