Oregon State junior Chaz Scott could have just stepped off the field when Kevin Davidson’s interception ended a twominute drill at the close of the Beavers’ practice Thursday afternoon at Desert Mountain High School.
Instead, the Hamilton High School graduate sprinted downfield behind Davidson, eventually receiving a pitch from his tiring teammate and diving head first into the end zone before joining the team’s post-practice huddle.
"That’s my personality. I’m always looking for the good time and keeping a smile on my face," Scott said. "That’s part of keeping everyone up and playing the leader."
Playing the leader isn’t Scott’s only role for the Beavers, who will face Notre Dame in the Insight Bowl on Tuesday at Bank One Ballpark. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
The 6-foot-2, 222-pound former running back sees considerable time at linebacker and on special teams and was elected by teammates as the rotating fourth captain for their Sept. 25 game against Arizona State.
Scott is tied for eighth on the team with 37 tackles, including 26 solo stops. He has also forced three fumbles.
Though he’s not technically a starter, he is one of four players who see equal time at linebacker in the Beavers’ 4-3 defense.
"Backup is not the right word. We’re in a situation where we have four guys who I consider starters, and he’s one of those guys," said linebackers coach Charlie Camp, who predicts Scott will be a team captain next fall.
"He’s a very, very important guy. He brings energy and he does it every day. He’s a hard-working kid, a tough kid. That’s who Chaz Scott is."
Scott rushed for 925 yards and 13 touchdowns and recorded 57 tackles with four forced fumbles and two pass interceptions in 2000 as a senior at Hamilton. The Huskies advanced to the 5A state semifinals that season after losing in the quarterfinals his junior year.
Scott said it was only a matter of time before Hamilton ascended to the top of the Arizona prep football landscape.
"We were just a couple plays away," Scott said. "I knew coach (John) Wrenn would put it all together."
Scott grew up an ASU fan and considered the Sun Devils among his leading suitors until Bruce Snyder was fired in November of his senior year. Scott instead chose to sign with Oregon State, which was coming off a 41-9 whipping of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
The adjustment to life in tiny Corvallis, Ore., hasn’t always been easy.
"It’s been an unusual experience," Scott said. "There’s no sunshine and it’s rainy, but it’s green and it’s pretty and the people around the town are so nice.
"I love to come back (to Arizona) even though my friends get on me because sometimes I just want to get outside and see the sun because I don’t get to see it much (in Corvallis)."