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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Oregon State Lineman Jeremy Perry

Posted on: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

HOMEGROWN REPORT
Perry hoping to build Oregon State pipeline

By Liane Yim
Special to The Advertiser

Corvallis, Ore., is a tightly knit community where businesses and supporters proudly hang signs such as "Beaver Nation," kick-starting the hype surrounding an Oregon State football team whose season is months away.

Jeremy Perry, a Kahuku High School alum who was Pac-10 co-Freshman of the Year last year, is all too familiar about the hype as he enters his third season with the Beavers.

Perry started all 11 games at left guard last season, earning such accolades as Pac-10 Conference Honorable Mention, College Football News all-freshman first team, and Sporting News Freshman All-American Team. He also shared the league's freshman of the year honors with Arizona receiver Michael Thomas.

"He's doing a great job. What he brings to the table is incredible," said Mike Cavanaugh, OSU offensive line coach said of the 6-foot-2, 312-pound Perry. "He's passionate, plays hard, and there will be improvement every year. He's bigger, faster, stronger."

It is ironic that Perry and Cavanaugh ended up at the same place about 2,600 miles away from the University of Hawai'i, a place where both were once aligned.

Flash back to 2004 when a different type of hype was surrounding Perry, who was the first lineman in Hawai'i history to be named All-State Offensive Player of the Year by The Advertiser and considered the top college prospect coming out of high school.

Perry was a picture of indecision and dejection during national letter of intent day. He signed a document with UH, but never faxed it.

"That day I was really unsure of my decision, but I already committed to Arizona, so I talked to my family overnight and that got changed," Perry said. "So I had Oregon State and Hawai'i left and then I ended up signing with Hawai'i because my mom was right there, because that's what they wanted. They wanted to watch me play at home."

But Perry decided he wanted to hold off his decision since he always had a desire to attend a Mainland college.

The following week the scholarship offer from Hawai'i was withdrawn.

"Then I knew, this is it, I thought it was a sign that (UH) had the linemen they needed, they weren't really interested in getting another lineman," Perry said.

"Oregon State was recruiting me heavily. The head coach came down like four or five times, they were interested in me and needing me here in Oregon."

Luck would have it that Cavanaugh, UH's offensive line coach for six seasons, would join the OSU staff a year later in 2005.

"He got here after my redshirt year," Perry said. "He came during my eligible year, which was perfect, it couldn't go any better."

Perry said Cavanaugh "made an impact on the team," citing how the Beavers went from "last" to "sixth" in the nation in rushing.

Perry said he also appreciated having Kamehameha athletic director/head football coach Kanani Souza on campus. Souza was a graduate assistant at OSU for the 2005 season.

"They (Souza and Cavanaugh) both were good coaches and it was nice having them here," Perry said. "We were both homesick, it was kinda like having two father figures around."

Football should be a sight to be seen this season with the expansion of Reser Stadium, as well as the return of all five starting offensive linemen for the first time since 1977.

"With the Pac-10 everything's so competitive. The WAC you can kinda predict the game it's either high or low," Perry said. "The crowd here is always sold out. Everyone's loud ... the atmosphere I can't really explain."

The local presence is strong as well, with approximately 200 students from Hawai'i at OSU. Eleven of those are on the football team, the third-highest state representation following California and Utah. And Perry is trying to convince his brother George, who has played football for UH, to join the team.

Perry, a communications major, has three years of eligibility left. It's definitely not the weather or location, with Portland being two hours away, that is keeping Perry in Corvallis, but it's a place of solitude to focus on athletics and academics far away from city life.

"Summer's just nice, so that's what I told Al (Afalava, a Kahuku grad) and he came, and that's what I told the other recruits and they're coming," Perry said. "I'm looking forward to half of the team being Polynesian in the next couple of years, even the coaches."

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