This position....Outside linebacker could be huge for Oregon State in 2019. Remember last season when the leading tackler on the team was a Safety(Jalen Moore). Now, you would love to see a linebacker take over that role in 2019. Also, only 15 sacks for the Oregon State defense last season. Only UCLA and Louisville had fewer in 2018 among Power Five schools. I believe the Beavers will be much better this fall thanks to two experienced returning players who had a great year of experience and both look bigger and stronger. I am talking about Andrzej Hughes-Murray and Hamilcar Rashid Jr.
First Andrzej....check out his 2018 stats:
• Has 78 tackles - 47 solo - with 9.5 for a loss in 30 games, including 19 starts
• Also has two blocks, one pass deflection and one fumble recovery
• 2017 and 2018 Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention team member
• Played in all 12 games, making 11 starts
• Tallied 33 tackles - 18 solo - with 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and one quarterback hurry
• Recorded TFLs in five consecutive games to end the season: at Colorado, vs. USC, at Stanford, at Washington and vs. Oregon. Picked up sacks versus USC, Stanford and Washington
• Finished with six tackles twice - at Colorado and at Washington
• Opened the season with back-to-back four tackle games at Ohio State and versus Southern Utah
• Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention
He is a dynamic athlete who is a natural team leader. As a senior he will be one of the vocal players on what a lot of people will be a much improved group of Linebackers. Check out his postgame chat after the 2019 spring game:
Another standout player with a chance to be a big contributor is Hamilcar Rashed Jr. the redshirt junior from Chandler, Arizona.
Check out his 2018 highlights:
• Played in all 12 games, making 10 starts
• Tallied 58 tackles with 11.5 for loss. Added 2.5 sacks, three pass deflections and a forced fumble
• Finished with at least one TFL in nine of his 12 games. Had a season-high three in the overtime win at Colorado. Ended that game with seven overall tackles
• Picked up a season-high nine tackles versus USC. Added two pass breakups against the Trojans
• Tallied 1.5 tackles for loss twice - versus Arizona and at Stanford. 1.5 TFLs versus the Wildcats were via sacks. Added another sack against California
• Also forced a fumble versus Arizona
Now while the two returning players have a chance to make a big impact at Outside Linebacker, a newcomer from Oklahoma could be important. Addison Gumbs is a redshirt Sophomore who was a four-star recruit who played four games with the Sooners as a Freshman but did suffer a knee injury. He sat out all of 2018 and has rehabilitated his knee. He has been working with the starters in Corvallis. Keep your eye on #15 at OLB.
Check out Defensive Coordinator Tim Tibesar talking about Gumbs:
Another player at Outside Linebacker I really can't wait to see is John McCartan. Jonathan Smith told Oregon live that he might be the most improved player at the position. He has worked hard in the offseason in the weight room. He is big at 6'5" and the current roster has him at 219 pounds but expect an increase when they are weighed in at camp.
His Freshman stats are pretty good:
• Played in all 12 games, totaling 11 tackles, one TFL, an interception and one blocked kick
• Picked off a pass at Nevada and returned it 30 yards
• Blocked a kick against Southern Utah and added a 5-yard TFL
• Tallied two tackles three times - versus Arizona, Arizona State and USC
We also need to talk about Matthew Tago. He could wind up as an inside linebacker because during his Freshman season he showed he has tremendous promise:
• Played in 11 games, making one start against Stanford
• Tallied 19 tackles, with a season-best four twice versus Washington State and Oregon
• Picked up a sack at home versus Southern Utah
• Finished with a pair of forced fumbles - versus Arizona and USC. Recovered the fumble versus the Wildcats
• Credited with three quarterback hurries, including two versus California
He is 6'2" 226 pounds and like McCartan spent the off sesaon getting stronger in the weight room.
Riley Sharp is another player that could turn heads in camp. The redshirt freshman joined the team during the 2018 season after returning from an LDS mission. 6'5 227 pounds, he could be a factor at fall camp.