A quest for speed

Jerry Glanville has a simple formula he hopes will create some lucky breaks for the Vikings next season-recruit speedsters, and lots of them.

Jerry Glanville has a simple formula he hopes will create some lucky breaks for the Vikings next season-recruit speedsters, and lots of them.

Former Georgia Tech football head coach Bobby Dodd once called Glanville “the luckiest man in football.” Glanville told the legendary Dodd that he was not lucky at all but simply fielded the fastest teams in football.

“You have no lucky plays with slow people,” said Glanville, whose team is coming off a 3-8 season. “When you all of a sudden win the game at the last second and people say that it’s lucky, it usually involves a guy that runs faster than everybody else. We’d like to get lucky and get fast. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

To help Glanville’s quest for speed, the Vikings reloaded by signing 29 recruits on National Letter of Intent signing day Wednesday, including seven junior college transfers, 19 high schoolers, a four-year transfer from Idaho and two players who signed last year but greyshirted for academic reasons.

Of the newcomers, seven are wide receivers and 13 play either offensive or defensive line. Four of the junior college transfers play defensive line or linebacker. The Vikings lost nine of last year’s14 starters from those three positions due to graduation.

“We got older guys to take over now, and hopefully the younger guys can grow and get better. We’re not getting beat up because we’re young because we’ve got enough junior college people in front of them we can play right away,” Glanville said.

Also noteworthy is the addition of four linebackers who were ranked in the top-100 nationally.

“That’s kind of amazing, really,” Glanville said. “The assistant coaches did a great job of finding the people we wanted to go after. They go dig them out, then we go look at them.”

The foursome is headlined by Ryan Rau of Folsom, Calif. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder was one of the top West Coast recruits and should help make up for Jordan Senn’s departure. Rau averaged 19 tackles as a senior at Folsom High School and is the No. 88 inside linebacker in the nation, according to ESPN.com.

Another California product, Colton Russi, runs a 4.65 40-yard dash and is ranked higher than Rau at their position, 84th, by ESPN.com. Rossi also brings a modicum of size at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds.

Offensively, the Vikings now have a wealth of quick and fast options to fill the slot receiver role in offensive coordinator Mouse Davis’ run-and-shoot offense.

Raymond Fry transferred from the University of Idaho. A 5-foot-8 sophomore, Fry played tailback and has also worked as a kick returner. Fry is already enrolled at Portland State and has already been working with the offense and quarterbacks. He is slated to play spring ball.

“Quickness is equally as important as fast. It’s very important we get slot receivers that have quickness. That was probably a top priority,” Davis said. “We can get by with a fast guy outside who is more of a straight-line guy. The inside guy has to have quickness and be an intelligent guy who can run.”

Another player of interest, particularly to Glanville, is running back Cory McCaffrey. McCaffrey, 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, played at Sisters High School, where he set an Oregon state record by gaining 8,460 yards in just three years. Last year, he rushed for a state-record 2,925 yards and 46 touchdowns, prompting Glanville to travel to Sisters, Ore., to personally recruit him.

Overall, Glanville said he looked to recruit players who could make the opposing team miss tackles.

“Your best high school players aren’t playing wide receiver. We’ve got option quarterbacks we’re bringing in as wide receivers. We’ve got running backs we’re brining in as wide receivers,” Glanville said. “A lot of people will have to switch positions.”

The team revealed Glanville’s first recruiting class Wednesday evening at the Kingston Bar and Grill in Portland, owned by Vikings booster Gary Jondahl.

As highlight reels played, Glanville and his coaching staff made the rounds, shaking hands and chatting with the large crowd of boosters on hand to get a glimpse of the program’s future.

“I think the most outstanding thing this year is the speed on offense and defense,” said longtime booster Jerry Nudelman. “I’m looking forward to the season. I’m looking forward to spring practice.”

Jondahl, who became a booster shortly before former coach Tim Walsh arrived in the South Park Blocks more than 14 years ago, has been part of the recruiting process for a while now.

“When Coach Walsh got here, I got more involved,” Jondahl said. “We feed all the recruits breakfast.”

Jondahl was pleased the recruiting party was at his bar, a small measure of gratitude for years of support, he speculated. He said he is impressed by the recruits and Glanville.

“Every year they look great and seem to get bigger and bigger,” he said of the new recruits. “I’m encouraged.

Athletic director Torre Chisholm was on hand, quietly overseeing events.

“It’s a fantastic recruiting class,” Chisholm said, adding that the process of renewing season tickets and suites is already underway. “We’re excited for the future of the program. The buzz is still there.”