Mountaineers football team eyes incoming class of 22 players
During his tenure as head coach, Tim Camp has avoided huge turnover rates in the football program. This season proves to be no different with a plan that’s been in place since Camp came to Eastern Oregon University six years ago.
“We continually stick to how we started the program,” Camp said. “We find the best kid, who’s the best fit for Eastern. That’s not only on the field, but off the field, too.
“We try to get kids that have position flexibility. The goal is to get the athletes in, and my job is to get them into the right spot.”
That’s why when you look at the list of 22 recruits that have signed a letter of intent to play for the Mountaineers next season, only two have set positions. The rest of the players have “skill”, “combo” or “big” next to their names.
Looking through the list of names, none necessarily jumps off the page. Unless you’re a football recruiter. But, when you dig a little deeper, there are some standouts in the class.
NCAA Division I transfers are always an attention grabber. EOU has one of those in Austin Brown of Meridian, Idaho. Brown played on the defensive line for Mountain View High School. Brown was prepared to walk-on at Boise State University his freshman year. That was until Mike Leach at Washington State University decided to bring him in. Brown is listed at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds.
Quarterbacks are always the focal point. Whether it’s talk around the water cooler the day after a game, or reading through the game summary. Quarterbacks like pitchers are essentially credited with a win or a loss.
Reece Hack, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound quarterback will take the field at Community Stadium next season. Camp just isn’t quite sure where he’s going to fit into the depth chart yet.
“He’s going to be someone that comes in and challenges the players we already have on the roster,” Camp said. “From there, we’ll see where it goes.
“Reece is one of the handful of guys that we brought in that could crack the two-deep roster for the regular season.”
Coming out of Stayton High School, Hack had several Division I offers. He told 24/7sports.com that he was being recruited by Oregon, Oregon State, Nebraska and UCLA. Just to name a few. However, Hack went on to sign with Simon Fraser in Burnaby, B.C., a Division II school. According to the Clan website, Hack appeared in two games as a freshman, and didn’t throw a pass.
Danny Wilson Jr. is the other transfer gem in the recruiting class. The running back out of Bothell, Wash., originally committed to University of Idaho. He ended up playing at Snow College in Utah, where he played at his original position and also spent time at defensive back.
“He’s a guy who just had some things come up in his life,” Camp said. “We brought him here because he’s a great kid, and looks like a good fit for the program.”
Anfernee Sloan of Fernley, Wash., and Anfernee Cortez of Zillah, Wash., are two true freshman that Camp said could see immediate playing time. Sloan played wide receiver and defensive back in high school, while Cortez saw time at quarterback and defensive back.
“It’s going to be tough for a freshman to come in and play,” Camp said. “I wish they could all red-shirt this season. But, we’ll see how things play out. This class is about having depth, and players that can step in when they’re ready to play. Our depth is what has saved us every year so far.
“This class is very talented, probably one of the most talented we’ve brought in here. But the key is not going to be their talent, but how they mature and develop as people, students and players over the next four to five years.”
Spring practices will start April 5.