Oregon State's connection to Inland Empire prospects has paid dividends in the past and it helped once again Wednesday night when Redlands, Calif., athlete Walter Jones committed to the Beavers.
"That's a big role," Jones said.
"I've been friends with Victor Bolden since middle school. We ran track together. It's going to be great to be up there with guys I know. We're all going to work hard together and push each other. It's going to be good."
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Six of eight Oregon State commits are from the Inland Empire area of Southern California but that wasn't the only reason why Jones made his decision.
The 6-foot-1, 173-pound prospect took an unofficial visit to Corvallis in the summer and he especially liked what he saw from the coaching staff.
Oregon State stood out in many ways, Jones wanted to leave home for college and the Beavers were attractive to him from early on.
"It feels like a family up there," Jones said.
"I'm leaving home to go away to college and I've never spent any time in Oregon. It feels like a family up there and there are a ton of IE guys up there so I feel like it's going to be a great situation for the next four or five years. The big thing was the family atmosphere and the coaching staff.
"It was a different atmosphere. I've lived in Southern California all my life. I wanted to experience something new, a really, really nice college town. It will be a perfect place for me to go play football and get my studies. I just love the coaching staff, too, so I felt it was a great school."
Jones recently took an official visit to Utah, plus he had offers from Colorado State, Nevada, Washington State and Eastern Washington.