Tenino’s Takari Hickle, a 3-star defensive end, announced his verbal commitment to Oregon State University football Monday night.
The commitment caps an already-impressive high-school career for the soon-to-be senior from Class 1A Tenino, a rural town of 1,800 people in south Thurston County.
Hickle, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound disrupter, is the 39th-ranked prospect in Washington for the class of 2022, according to 247Sports, and is the 207th-ranked defensive lineman in the nation.
He is the Beavers’ 11th commitment for the 2022 class and their third this month. Oregon State currently has the 51st-ranked recruiting class in the nation and is No. 8 in the Pac-12.
Hickle tore up the 1A Evergreen Conference in 2021 as a junior, leading The Chronicle’s coverage area with 16 tackles for loss as a ferocious edge rusher. He finished with 45 tackles, and four sacks on defense in just six games. At fullback, he rushed for 492 yards and seven touchdowns on 52 carries for 9.46 yards per carry.
He ended his junior year with another first-team all-1A EvCo selection and a spot on The Chronicle’s 2021 All-Area Football Team.
Hickle received his first Division-I football offer in September 2020 from Nevada after earning first-team all-1A EvCo honors during a stellar sophomore campaign.
He landed on Oregon State’s radar around the same time when a few of the Beavers’ coaching staff followed him on Twitter. They first reached out to talk to him about two months ago.
The coaching staff invited him for an official campus visit on June 24, where they gave him the full experience of what it would be like to be a Beaver, complete with a photoshoot in Beavers gear.
Just 18 days later, on June 9, Oregon State offered him a full-ride scholarship.
“It was pretty awesome,” Hickle said. “It was definitely one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt. Very exciting.”
It took him only three days to accept. Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith called Hickle after practice and Hickle let him know he’d made the decision to become a Beaver.
“He seemed pretty excited,” Hickle said.
Hickle said it was an easy decision; he’s always been a fan of the Beavers. But the campus visit, where he finally met the coaches in person, is what really cemented his decision.
“I liked everything I saw, everything they preach and the morals they have,” Hickle said. “Their program, to me, feels safe. Kind of like a home feeling. I really like the coaches there, too.”
Hickle, with a nearly-7-foot wingspan (83.5 inches) and enormous hands (11 inches), hopes to help turn around a Beavers’ program that finished middle-of-the-pack in the Pac-12 North Conference with a 2-5 overall record during the 2020-21 season.
“I’m just excited to be a part of the program they have going on there,” Hickle said, “and to grow as a player and just live out the dream I’ve always wanted to do.”