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National Signing Day notebook: Malachi Durant sees it through with Oregon State University's 'restart'

Emerald Ridge RB Navarre Dixon finds home in South Dakota, and Graham-Kapowsin QB Daveon Superales is joining one of top programs in Big Sky Conference

Malachi Durant did his part after giving Oregon State University a verbal commitment last June.

He backed up his word with action, and the best season of his high school career - 64 catches, 1,025 yards and a team-high 18 touchdowns for Graham-Kapowsin High School.

But when Jonathan Smith resigned as Beavers coach to take the head job at Michigan State University, Durant said "it did have me stressed a little bit."

But patience and trust went a long way for Durant, who signed with new coach Trent Bray and the Beavers on Wednesday to be part of their 2024 recruiting class.

"Doing some thinking and talking with my dad (Lavelle) … it had me think, if anything, the program isn’t going to fall off," Durant said.

"It's more of a restart."

Durant did admit Wednesday that he looked into going to Michigan State with Smith, but ultimately said his trust in Beavers' assistant coach Kafense Hynson - his team recruiter - won out.

"I had a lot of trust in him to lead me on the right path," Durant said.

There's also an added bonus for staying with the Beavers - Durant will get to a teammate with Gabarri Johnson, the former Lincoln of Tacoma quarterback who trained with Durant's father, Lavelle.

Johnson transferred to Oregon State after one season at Missouri.

"When he entered the portal I was on him about coming to Oregon State," Durant said. "So, he jumped on board."



Emerald Ridge running back Navarre Dixon wanted to make sure and let an impressive night crowd in the school gymnasium know two things about South Dakota.

It's cold.

And they love their football at Black Hills State University.

The NCAA Division II program in Spearfish, S.D. has players from 17 different states, including a small troop from Washington (Camas' Jake Blair and Charlie Bump; Mount Si's Slater Macko).

And the Yellow Jackets just added the 1,000-yard rusher from the Jaguars - also one of the top running backs from the state.

"It is definitely a different setting, but I liked it," said Dixon, who rushed for 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns in his only seasons at Emerald Ridge. "A lot of outdoor stuff in the summer time outside of football - and a lot of football."



Graham-Kapowsin QB Daveon Superales signs with Montana State University football in front of family at school gymnasium Wednesday on Signing Day.

Daveon Superales did all he could to get noticed last fall, passing for 3,488 yards and 44 touchdowns, and rushing for another 708 yards in leading Graham-Kapowsin to the Class 4A championship game.

But recruiting nibbles were slow to come.

And SBLive WA's first-team all-state quarterback understood.

"My coaches were saying, 'It’s going to take some times. I was like, ‘Yeah, I get it.’ I am a really understandable guy," Superales said. :"You just have to be patient, and your time will come - and my time came."

It certainly did Wednesday as he signed to join Montana State University with wide receiver Jabez Woods.

It started when Bobcats coach Brent Vigen started following Superales on Twitter after the season.

"I texted (Jabez), 'Is this something to question about?'" Superales said. "He was like, ‘No, let it be.’ Then coach called me."

Eventually, a preferred walk-on option came open, and after his official visit, Superales knew he had found a home.


Emerald Ridge's Gio Kafentzis signs with Utah State (PWO) and poses with family for photo at National Signing Day on Wednesday in school gymnasium.
Emerald Ridge's Isaiah Jennings signs with Central Washington University 2024.
Emerald Ridge's Kajob Babcock signs with Rocky Mountain College in 2024
Graham-Kapowsin QB Daveon Superales and WR Jabez Woods sign with Montana State University football in front of family at school gymnasium Wednesday on Signing Day.