It’s going to be tough for the Oregon State Beavers to rebound from losing WR Markus Wheaton and CB Jordan Poyer to the NFL, but there are still some interesting young prospects on a team that some people think can be a contender in the Pac 12 in 2013/14.
After a three win season in 2011, the Beavers came out last year and overachieved all the way to 9-3, but still lacked a true identity at the QB position and didn’t have an overly consistent running game. What we do know of the Beavers is that they return some intriguing players for the 2013 season, led by defensive end Scott Crichton (pronounced CRY-ton).
95 DE Scott Crichton (6’3″ 260 pounds, JUNIOR)
Crichton has led the team in sacks and tackles for loss each of the last two seasons, and finished his 2012 campaign with 17.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Last year, Crichton was one of only two underclassmen to be named All-Pac 12 and enters the season as a pre-season 2nd team All-American selection by Athlon Sports. Even though he was just a sophomore, Crichton grew into quite the player last year and definitely appears to have a future in the NFL if he continues on his trajectory. He had shoulder surgery in the offseason, which caused him to miss Spring ball, but that shouldn’t faze the junior pass rusher who burst onto the college football scene in 2011 with a whopping SIX forced fumbles. To this point in his career, he has 32 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and seven forced fumbles. This is a playmaker on defense who could be a second round pick, or perhaps higher.
7 WR Brandin Cooks (5’11” 178 pounds, JUNIOR)
Players like Wes Welker, Percy Harvin, T.Y. Hilton, and Tavon Austin have paved the way for smaller, less bulky receivers like Brandin Cooks, a junior who is one of the most explosive playmakers in the country. Last year, Markus Wheaton stole the spotlight and led the Oregon State receiving attack, but Cooks was the Robin to Wheaton’s Batman in only the second WR duo in school history to have 1,000 yards apiece in one season. Cooks is lightning quick who can contribute on special teams if the need should arise as a kick/punt returner, but he showed off his skills last year as a receiver, catching 67 passes for 1,151 yards and five touchdowns, averaging over 17 yards per catch in his sophomore campaign. Cooks is a big play threat who is taking over as the #1 receiver for the Beavers, and he could be a candidate to leave early for the NFL.
40 LB Michael Doctor (6’0″ 223 pounds, SENIOR)
Doctor led the Beavers in tackles as a junior with 83, and also racked up 11 tackles for loss and four passes broken up as well as an interception. In the NFL, Doctor will have to utilize his speed to make a team on special teams, but he has good instincts and flies to the ball. He is the team’s active career leader in tackles, and one of the most experienced defenders who will bring a lot of just that to an NFL roster. He might not be a high pick, but these are the kind of guys you look for to round out your roster.
16 CB Rashaad Reynolds (5’11” 186 pounds, JUNIOR)
Going into the 2013 season, you have to think Reynolds is going to be one of the top senior cornerbacks in the Pac 12 conference. As a junior, he was totally overshadowed by All-American Jordan Poyer, who somehow fell to the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round, but Reynolds was a very good corner in his own right. As a junior, he racked up 75 tackles and picked off three passes, breaking up another 13. The senior out of Los Angeles saw significant playing time as a sophomore, and finished with 68 tackles and an interception in 2011. Reynolds is very fast, and has ran track for the OSU track team in the 60 meters. He sat out the 2013 Spring camp with OSU due to recovery from knee surgery, but he should be ready to go for the regular season. With another improved year in 2013, he could very well be a top 64 selection.
71 OG Grant Enger (6’6″ 290 pounds, SENIOR)
Enger has 21 starts under his belt and experience at every offensive line position besides center. He’s a pretty solid athlete who can pull at the guard position, and his versatility ought to get him a serious look from NFL teams. He isn’t flashy, but he can play all over the place and was an honorable mention All-Pac 12 selection in 2012.
77 OT Michael Philipp (6’5″ 325 pounds, SENIOR)
One of the most experienced and talented players on the OSU offensive line, Philipp is a huge tackle prospect that has 35 career starts on the OL. Philipp has pretty solid footwork for his size, but his technique can be sloppy at times, and he has some injury concerns. He came back from a season ending injury in 2011 and an injury riddled 2010 to start all 13 games for the Beavers last year, and he could translate well to RT or OG in the NFL.
89 TE Connor Hamlett (6’6″ 260 pounds, JUNIOR)
Hamlett is a massive TE prospect who started only seven games as a sophomore in 2012, but caught 32 passes for 403 yards and three scores. He is a pretty complete all-around TE who is starting out the 2013 season as the Beavers’ H-Back, and he has a chance to break out as the team’s second leading receiver behind Brandin Cooks. Up-and-coming player who could start to attract some national attention in his junior season.