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High School Sports

Narbonne safety Anthony Beavers Jr. says Oregon is ‘right place’ for him

Narbonne defensive back Anthony Beavers Jr. shows off his Oregon gloves before a game against St. Paul.
Narbonne defensive back Anthony Beavers Jr. shows off his Oregon gloves before a game against St. Paul.
(Shotgun Spratling / For The Times)

As Harbor City Narbonne High was about to go in for another touchdown in a 56-19 victory over St. Paul on Friday night in Sante Fe Springs, some trash talk broke out from each side about the amount of scholarship offers and college interest a player had.

Four-star prospect Anthony Beavers Jr. wasn’t involved, but all the Narbonne safety would have needed to do was hold up his hands to display his Oregon gloves.

The 6-foot, 195-pound defensive back made an oral commitment to the Ducks in April while finishing up his sophomore year. Oregon has long been Beavers’ favorite school, dating to when Crenshaw High’s De’Anthony Thomas shocked many observers in flipping his commitment from USC to the Ducks late in the 2011 recruiting cycle. Beavers didn’t feel the need to take more time in the recruiting process.

“I think when you find the right place, there’s no need to wait any longer,” Beavers said. “Oregon has been my dream school for a long time, so this has been a connection and I’m ready to do something different.”

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There’s always a draw to stay close to home, but when schools from across the nation began to show interest, Beavers decided he wanted to spread his wings. He believed he found the best of both worlds at Oregon. It was an out-of-state college that felt like home with position coaches who share a similar background in cornerbacks coach Donte Williams and co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Keith Heyward.

“They’re coaches that I can relate to,” Beavers said. “Coach Donte and Coach Heyward are both from the city [of Los Angeles], so I can relate to them in a million ways.”

Oregon junior safety Nick Pickett, who played at Los Angeles Salesian, is also a mentor to Beavers.

“I talk to him all the time. That’s like my big brother,” Beavers said. “I played with him. He was on the big team [for the] Leimert Park Chargers when I was on the young team, so we just been chopping it up ever since.”

When Trona High plays its home opener on Friday, the tiny school – too small to field a marching band – will have the band from larger Ridgecrest Burroughs High on its sideline.

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Draw of diversity

Another thing Oregon offers that caught Beavers’ attention is the geographic diversity of its roster. The Ducks have players from 22 states and three countries.

“They get people from everywhere,” he said. “So it’s not just like a West Coast school. They got people from Florida on the D-line. It’s just really a versatile defense, and they just play fast and physical.”

Beavers is getting a taste of having teammates with different geographic backgrounds this season. Narbonne wide receivers Traeshon Holden and Kobe Stewart both moved to Los Angeles from the Eastern United States, while offensive lineman Ikani Tuiono previously lived in Utah.

Beavers also got an opportunity to check out different environments and campuses during the offseason when he visited Clemson, Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati and Oregon with his Premium Sports seven-on-seven team.

“It’s really just adapting to the atmosphere out there and just seeing a new place because football is different everywhere,” Beavers said. “And there’s so much more to life, so I’m just trying to open my horizon to new things. Just trying to have fun with it. Just going to places I’ve never been and just trying to take football as far as it can take me.”

Catching up on plans

Holden made his debut with the Gauchos against St. Paul, catching three passes for 41 yards. The 6-foot-3 receiver is committed to Alabama. He wants to return to Tuscaloosa soon but has plans to take official visits to Oregon and USC. He also is considering Florida, Florida State and Tennessee as official visit destinations.


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