Wave of the Future
Although a 10-3 season is not a bad one, it was a disappointing year in Corvalis as national title expectations came to an abrupt halt after loosing three conference games to Stanford, Utah and USC.
QB Jax Henderson Hushes the Crowd After a Huge TD Run
People close to the Oregon State program know that the struggles this year will pay off. The pinnacle of which is the play of now Junior QB Jacques “Jax” Henderson. Capping off a 2600+ passing yard and 800+ rushing yard sophomore campaign in which he finished 5th in the Heisman voting. Jax is posed to set all-time offensive numbers at Oregon State and he’ll have plenty of help along the way. HB Fabian Rogers had to play behind AA and Heisman Leonard Nelson for two years and is ready to bring the smashmouth football back to Coach Drifter’s offense. Rogers is a compact runner who runs behind his pads. While he’s not flashy, he is one of the more smooth running backs the Beavers have ever had. Former PS#1 HB Cornell Hooper saw some playing time as a role player as a true frosh and will become the lightning to Roger’s thunder. Incoming sophomore JUCO transfer Jared Moore is one of the most athletic running back prospects in recent memory and could contribute immediately.
Out wide, Junior WRs Tom Mays and Brandon Beverly step up after the departure of WR Drew Myrick and TE John Johnson. Both have big bodies and run great routes. Mays played some limited roles last year and did a great job of making some fantastic catches when the Beavers needed him to. Coach Drifter graduated four of his starting offensive linemen this year but the bodies filling the two-deep behind them are well equipped and ready to step into a starting role.
FS Sean Morgan Intercepting a Pass. He led the team last season with 6.
Defensively five Sophomores started on a unit that ranked 6th nationally and only surrendered 292.9 yards a game. Junior FS Sean Morgan and SS Carlton Dortch were solid in their true sophomore years finishing 6th and 3rd on the team in tackles, respectively. Good friends off the field, they form a very dynamic defensive backfield that is tough for any offensive attack to deal with. Morgan has become one of the more athletic safety prospects in the country. Dortch is a good athlete himself, but has a lanky frame that allows him to make the tough tackles on even the most skilled ball carriers.
The front seven is loaded with young talent, including three of the most explosive young LBs in the country. Led by Junior MLB Alex Blake, this unit stars Junior OLBs Darron Hicks and Tim Harper on the outside. Hicks and Harper are both exciting LBs that can get to the ball carrier and QB. Blake was 2nd on the team in tackles last year as a Sophomore with 81 (Hicks was 4th on the team) while the speedy Harper replaces AA Matt Davis at Will, who departed early for the NFL.
The Beavers return a monster DL full of NFL prospects as well. None more impressive than Junior DT Tony Hall who returns after leading the team with 9.5 sacks last year. Adding young depth are Sophomore Brian Riley and FR(RS) Fred Morrow (6’8”!). Riley is a guy that could play LB for a lot of teams and will lend Coach Drifter a lot of versatility off the edge in the future. The Beavers have put plenty of DL in the NFL over the past several seasons and these kids are just the next tier of sack monsters.
DT Tony Hall doing what he does best – punishing QBs.
As you can expect, it will not take Oregon State long to get back on top of their form. A three loss season would not be reason to fret for any program, but taken out of context of Oregon State’s three straight national title appearances and one BCS Championship, it was a disappointing year for the Beavers. It would be naive to not expect the offense to grow in potency while the defense forces opponents to reach deep into their playbooks in an attempt to be effective. The young talent provides a number of things for OSU faithful. Perhaps coping with last year’s disappointment. It possibly could make the lumps from last season a lot more bearable, however, optimism is flowing through the program like never before with the continued involvement of such young and talented players. As crazy as it sounds, things are looking better than ever for the Beavers.