Once Again, Freshman Pave the Way
Mike Riley has never been shy about playing his freshman. This was especially true last season, in which Riley played more OSU Beavers freshman than ever before.
Despite lack of experience, the freshman may have stood out more last season than the more seasoned players.
Red shirt freshmen Sean Mannion and Scott Crichton won multiple freshman honors. Malcolm Agnew was made a starter from day one. Despite basking in a Markus Wheaton sized shadow, true freshman Brandin Cooks was a huge standout at wide receiver.
With an outstanding list of incumbents, who are the possible freshman starters heading into game one of the 2012 season?
Bad O-line play has plagued the Beavers of seasons past. Luckily, their 2012 recruiting class was filled big blockers ready to fill the voids.
That starts with the 6’5 280 pound Gavin Andrews.
Andrews has been praised for everything from his strength and speed to overwhelming “good guy” personality. Throw it all together and you have a lineman with incredibly upside.
Andrews has plenty of potential, and that will shine through early and often. With an ailing line, I wouldn’t be surprise if Riley takes a chance and rolls with this rookie to start the season.
A redshirt freshman for 2012, Storm Woods has by far the best name in college football.
He’s also a big time contender for the starting running back position, winning offensive MVP of last seasons scout team.
Woods was a standout in spring practices, showing great catch and run ability. His speed stood out as well, being comparable to Malcolm Agnew’s.
Woods is very athletic, and shows a lot of the same instincts as James Rodgers. He’s certainly a candidate for the fly-sweep, with a solid chance at the starting role.
With a disappointing showing from the 2011 running corps, starting OSU running back is up for grabs. Woods has been making a strong case for himself, and I see him as top candidate to start in the backfield for game 1.
Another redshirt freshman, Mullaney was another of the Beaver’s highly regarded wide receiver recruits coming into 2011.
Just a three star rated prospect, Mullaney was considered by many as the Beaver’s best recruit of the 2011 class. He’s been praised for his route running ability, and has the length to eat up any passes that come his way.
He was another standout this spring, but had to sit out the final practices due to a thumb injury.
The Beavers have a ton of depth at wide out, and usually I would see Mullaney as more of a sub for the beginning of the season. However, with the recent news of Jordan Bishop‘s retirement from collegiate football, that leaves an open starters spot.
Despite a strong battery of candidates, Mullaney easily sticks out—long as that thumb isn’t a huge concern.
A true freshman entering the season, Caleb Smith was a prized recruit for the Beavers 2012 class.
Hailing from Renton, Washington, the 6’7, 240 pound Smith has been praised for his surprisingly agile athleticism. His height gives him amazing strength and reach, making him the perfect candidate as a catch first tight end.
Smith has done everything he can to ensure the starting role goes to him. He left high school in spring in order to enroll early. He made a point to be a part of spring practices, and the coaches are certainly taking notice.
While he’s still a dark horse candidate for the starters role, I think his potential will win out in the end.
The Beaver’s star recruit for 2012, if any rookie is going to be a starter it’s this kid.
Coming in at 6’3 and 280 lbs., Seumalo was seen by many as the best offensive line prospect in the country.
The Corvallis native has been praised for his first step and strength, making him a brick wall at the line.
The offensive line has had serious issues for the last two seasons. They’ve had problems protecting the quarterback, as well as providing suitable blocks for the run game.
I expect Seumalo to be an instant starter in the upcoming season. The offensive line is lacking depth, or standout players.
Seumalo was a star recruit, receiving praise across the country and he has great potential.
Like I said, if any rookie is a shoe in starter it’s this kid.