I wanted to have our 2019 preview of the Oregon State Defensive Line to be the final position we look at here at Rip City Radio. That's because it could be the key to an improved team this fall. The Beavers were just awful in 2018 on the defensive side of the football. The Beavs gave up 281.8 yards per game on the ground, That was the most generous run defense in the Pac-12 and in FBS only one team was worse and that was Connecticut. They gave up 6.78 yards per carry which is also porous and one reason why Oregon State was 2-10. The Beavers also averaged 1.25 sacks per game which was ranked 118th in FBS. So the defensive number last sesaon for pretty ugly.
Enough about last year's issues. A new start and a group of players are going to camp on a mission to improve dramatically. Let's look at who might step up big time:
ELU AYDON- Elu (pictured above) has worked hard to manage his weight and is working hard in that area. Listed at 383 pounds he is down to 365 which means he may play a lot more and really jam up the opponents running game. Here are his stats overall and from last season:
• Enters the 2019 season with 74 tackles in 33 career games, including seven starts. Has added 7 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks
2018 (REDSHIRT JUNIOR)
• Played in 11 games, totaling 37 tackles with 4.5 for a loss and half a sack. Added a blocked kick against Colorado
• Posted a season-best eight tackles in the season finale versus Oregon
• Totaled 1.5 tackles for loss against Washington
• Finished with five tackles, including half for a loss, with the blocked kick at Colorado
• Picked up half a sack at Nevada
JORDAN WHITTLEY= Here is a new member of the team who comes in as a 6'2" 320 pound senior who could really make a difference. Here is a look at his resume entering 2019:
• Recruited by numerous FBS teams, including Pac-12 programs.
• Has one year to play one.
• Played two seasons for John Beam at Laney College.
• Led Laney to its first California Community College Athletic Association football championship in 2018. Laney finished the season 11-2.
• Totaled 35 tackles as a sophomore, collecting 14.5 tackles for loss, including 5.5 sacks. Added two pass breakups.
• Selected first-team all-conference on the defensive line as a sophomore.
• Helped Laney to a 9-2 record as a freshman in 2017.
• Finished with 10 tackles as a freshman, totaling 1.5 for a loss.
• Played running back while at Castlemont for head coach Clyde Byrd.
• Three-time all-conference and all-star game selection while at Castlemont.
• Son of Kristina Pettway.
• Has two brothers, Jonathan and Khristopher.
• Chose Oregon State because of “the family vibe from the coaches to the players.”
• Laney CC Head Coach John Beam on Jordan -- “Jordan has unbelievable ability with a tremendous upside. He is a well-liked young man by his teammates and coaches.”
Here is more on Jordan Whittley from Defensive Line coach Legi Suiaunoa:
SIMON SANDBERG- Another JC Transfer who suits up for Oregon State at 6'3" 265 pounds with two years of eligibility. He is also from Sweden which makes him a guy to take a close look at in camp. Coach Jonathan Smith says Simon is a physical guy who they want to see in the loop:
• Played one season for Jimmy Collins at City College of San Francisco.
• Recorded 20 tackles, including eight for loss, in 2017. Finished with 3.5 sacks.
• Intends to study kinesiology at Oregon State. Would like to go into strength and conditioning or physical therapy after his playing career.
• Originally from Karlstad, Sweden.
• Son of Eva-May Nordström and Håkan Sandberg.
• Has one sister, Embla, and one brother, Melvin.
• Sandberg via 247Sports -- “I’ve always come in with the attitude that I want to compete at the highest level to become the best player that I’m able to become. I’m going to come in and compete for a spot, I want to come in and compete to push myself rather than have something handed to me. I didn’t come halfway across the world to pursue a dream and not expect to work hard to achieve it.”
• Chose Oregon State because “it is the best fit overall. I couldn’t have wished for anything better.”
• City College of San Francisco Head Coach Jimmy Collins on Sandberg -- “No one will outwork Simon. He has come across the world with one goal and that is to become the best football player possible and that is how he approaches every day. I think Simon is the biggest steal in junior college recruiting and I expect that he will have an impact with Oregon State rather quickly.”
Coach Legi Suiaunoa breaks down his game:
Jeromy Reichner is another potential player with the possibility of a breakout season. The Redshirt Junior played in just five games last season with injuries. As the team enters camp he is listed as a potential starter at Defensive End.Staying healthy will be the key because he does provide strength and speed on the D-Line.
ISAAC HODGINS- The Sophomore and little brother of WR Isaiah Hodgins had some impressive moments during his Freshman season:
• Played in all 12 games, making 11 starts
• Registered 30 tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks, with two quarterback hurries
• Tallied sacks against Colorado and Oregon and half a sack versus USC. Added a tackle for loss at Nevada
• Posted a season-best six tackles against Southern Utah. Later finished with four against Oregon in the season finale
• Opened his collegiate career with two tackles at Ohio State
• Joined the Oregon State program in January and participated in spring workouts
Hodgins has been working hard in the weight room and it will be interesting to see where he is on the scale once camp starts next week. He is listed right now at 6'0" 269 pounds.
LAMONE WILLIAMS- Another senior who brings depth and stability to the D-Line. He played in all 12 games and made three starts in 2018.
EVAN BENNETT- A Freshman from Sacramento with an impressive resume coming to camp at 6'2" 294 pounds:
Here is the bottom line on the Defensive Line from OSU Hall of Famer and a member of the Beaver Sports Network on the D-Line:
"Newcomer Whittley and the Senior Aydon can contribute. Hodgins and Reichner need to be productive. Reichner plays with good leverage and Hodgins needs to play fast".
The Beavers want to be relevant in the conference in 2019. Year number two shows a ton of promise even though the Pac-12 Media say they will end up deep in the North Division cellar; That is plenty of motivation for this group of Defensive Linemen to prove them all wrong.
Stay tuned for reports from Training Camp beginning next week here on the RCR 620 Website.