ASHLAND—Southern Oregon football locked down letters of intent from 33 players on Wednesday, as college football’s National Signing Day marked the end of the recruiting cycle for NCAA programs and a loose deadline for NAIA programs.
The Raiders are tasked with replacing 20 seniors who have graduated from last year’s 6-4 team, and head coach Charlie Hall expects his 2019 signing class to approach 40 players by the time the season starts.
"It’s diverse in terms of geography, offense and defense,” he said. “Every position needs help. We're not recruiting just for next year. This process really is about recruiting into the future. If we get players from this group, especially the freshman level that can help us next year, to me that's a bonus."
Hall’s second recruiting class as head coach of SOU consists of 26 high school signees and seven transfers.
Half of the 33 signees come from the state of Oregon, and Hall said what’s most pronounced is the caliber of schools from which they come.
"What I'm pleasantly surprised with is the number of Portland-area recruits from some of the more elite schools, schools like Tigard and schools like Lake Oswego and Beaverton and Oregon City,” he said. “There just seems to be a core group of talented players that have decided this is not a bad place to go."
When it comes to homegrown local talent, 2019 was less fruitful.
Not as many players from the Rogue Valley are going on to play upper level college football this year, which resulted in the Raiders’ haul from southern Oregon going from six in 2018 to three in 2019.
Ashland’s Myles Montgomery is the headliner, making it the second year in a row that Hall will be coaching one of his former high school players.
"I was coming into it kind of wanting to get out of Ashland, get out of the area, but after going on my official visit, after I saw everyone, saw the environment, it just felt right. It felt like I was supposed to be there," Montgomery said.
"My experience in dealing with Ashland players is that those that want to play collegiately want to leave Ashland,” Hall said. “But I think there's some players like an Anthony Swanson that plays with us from Ashland, he just loves being in Ashland, loves his family, wants to be here. Myles is very much of that same kind of a person."
For a full list of SOU’s 2019 Signing Class, click here.