By Michael Kinney
When Andre Dollar first committed to the University of Oregon, he thought the recruiting process was over for him. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Mustang (OK.) tight end made the decision when he was a junior in September of 2020 and was looking forward to forging a career with the Ducks.
Dollar, who is the 6th ranked tight end in the country, was the only one at that position the Ducks were planning on having in its 2022 class.
However, when the early national signing day arrived on Dec. 15, Dollar wasn’t sporting the Duck’s green and yellow gear. He had on the scarlet grey and maroon colors of the PAC-12’s Washington State as he signed his National Letter of Intent.
While seeing high school athletes flip college commitments heading into signing day has become the standard on the recruiting trail, that was never Dollar’s intention. It took a total upheaval at Oregon for him to consider another program.
“I want to be honest, it was pretty stressful. It was a couple of days where, you know, the coaching staff left and at that point, I thought to myself, “You know, I don’t really want to sign with some school just for the fame, just for the name, just for the stuff you get there,” Dollar said. “I want to sign under a coaching staff that I want to play for and some good dudes that run a good offense.””
It all started on Dec. 6 when then University of Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal announced he was stepping down to take the same position at the University of Miami.
One of the major reasons Dollar chose the Ducks was due to its coaching staff. With Cristobal gone, Dollar knew the rest of the staff could be in flux.
“I started opening up my commitment, I think, the day of, or the day after, Coach Cristobal left for Miami,” Dollar said. “And then there was all these rumors of the other coaches leaving and all this other stuff. So we started reaching out to a couple of other schools.”
Dollar had previously racked up more than 25 offers from programs such as Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan State, South Carolina and Oklahoma State.
When talent like Dollar (6-foot-6, 230) makes it known they are reopening their recruiting process, it can be like chum in the water and it becomes a feeding frenzy as programs have to act fast, which is what the Cougars did.
“By Wednesday (Dec. 8) I got on the phone with the offensive coordinator at Washington State and I was on a plane Thursday night flying out to Pullman,” Dollar said.
When Washington State’s new Head Coach Jake Dickert got Dollar onto the Pullman campus, he and his staff told him what would be in store for him if he joined the program. That included what type of offense they will be running and how he would look in it.
“Washington State just got a new offensive coordinator (Eric Morris) about a week and a half ago,” Dollar said. “He’s changing up the whole offense. He loves to use tight ends. He’s put a couple of them in the league and he’s a really good dude. And I took a visit out there this past weekend, and I just fell in love with the place.”
Dollar returned from his weekend trip and it took him just one day before he announced he was committing to the Cougars on Dec. 14.
“My family was obviously happy for me. My parents always said that they want to put me in a place where I can make a decision, and they never wanted to swing me to one school or the other,” Dollar said. “They wanted me to be able to make the decision for myself, wherever I felt right. And taking that trip out to Pullman, and talking with the coaches and meeting with everybody, it’ felt like a fit for me.”
Dollar’s family was on hand when he signed his letter of intent. So were his friends, teammates and Mustang High School coaches. It was a moment he had been waiting for since he was a freshman and realized he had a chance to play at the next level.
It was also the final time they would probably all have a chance to be together. He is graduating early and will enroll at WSU in January.
“The experience was one of a kind. I mean, to be able to sign with my parents and family there, and have my coaches sitting next to me, and having all my teammates and friends and family sitting in the stands, it was definitely a surreal moment,” Dollar said. “I’ve been working for that dream my whole life, basically. And for it to finally be official and come true was like nothing I ever experienced.”
Michael Kinney Media