There is a lot of talk on message boards and around water coolers about players being busts. You hear pundits talking about a player needing to transfer when he’s just a redshirt freshman, or lamenting about the high expectations they had for a true sophomore.
There also is this knee jerk reaction that if a kid doesn’t see significant time as a true freshman, that they are not a great player.
I find this to minimize the impact of great Beaver players like Damola Adeniji, Tim Clark, and Victor Butler. All of those guys were juniors or seniors when they emerged on the scene — and were all very important for the Beavers’ success. So often, we forget that guys like Greg Peat were not great contributors until the last half of their OSU careers.
Beyond that, even in cases like OSU has, where you have about three different classes that for whatever reason were weak, you hope that you at least get a handful of legit competitors. For instance, the 2010 class included Scott Crichton, Connor Hamlett, Sean Mannion, Ryan Murphy, DJ Alexander, Terron Ward, and Trevor Romaine. That is a bunch of good players and, in some cases, NFL talent.
But it also had Shayden Akuna, Michael Bibbee, Dominic Glover, Ryan Handford, Thomas Molesi, Will Storey, Happy Iona, Josh Williams, and Fred Thompson, none of who will finish their careers at OSU. In some cases such Molesi and Iona, they never made it to campus. In other cases such Fred Thompson, there a tragic end to their Oregon State careers.
2011 was similar:
The problem with that class was it had a lot of JC players. While JCs can be great contributors, their time at OSU is much shorter, so they are not able to contribute as long as the rest of their class.
So even 2011, a class that is entering its redshirt junior year has a lot of players that could still contribute if they are not passed by younger athletes. Players such as Akeem Gonzales and Justin Addie have a chance to make their mark next season if they can get into the two deep.
That is basically 19 players making an impact right now on the two deep, and doesn’t even include the 2009 class this last year that had 11 people start games this year. So 30 of the players that saw the field this year were from 2009 – 2011. Knowing that 2012 and 2013 are two of the best classes we have seen at OSU since Rivals started tracking players, you can see that most of those guys might still contribute. Chris Brown is seeing the field more than Yvenson Bernard did at the same time. Yvenson had similar issues with fumbling, especially against LSU. He was not a fan favorite until his junior year. Woods and Ward will be juniors next season, and if Chris can get in the mix, he would be doing so as a redshirt sophomore.
So to say his time is up, when he is just beginning and seasons are long and injury-filled, is premature. Remember, Barry Sanders didn’t start until his junior year, and he was pretty good.