In my series of random and unsubstantiated thoughts on what type of person should be looking at Oregon State University as their a member of their football team. One position that, in my opinion, is the single hardest position to find quality players at is the defensive line. The number of talented and athletic 280 – 300 pound defensive tackles in high school football is very limited and is more precious than . So are large yet quick defensive ends that can stop the run as well as get to the quarterback on pass plays. No other position is so universally desired as defensive line, and the competition forces schools like OSU to get more creative with that position than any other.
This is where the pure coaching ability of Coach Joe (Seumalo) comes in. While players like current Chicago Bear Stephen Paea are rare finds, the Beavers have been able to take undersized players, players that are very raw or even players that are out of position, and turn them into very productive members of the team. While the a fore mentioned Paea is a physically dominant force that just needed refinement, the work that Coach Joe did with players like Kevin Frahm, Victor Butler, Gabe Miller, Brennan Olander, Andrew Seumalo and this year John Braun and Mana Rosa. While not all those names are littering NFL camps or even going to be on a pro squad in the future, they all were great contributors for the Beavers defense.
Whether it is converting players like Miller, Frahm, Braun and Rosa midway through their careers or taking guys like Butler and Slade Norris and building them into legitimate Pac-12 (well Pac-10 at the time) players without high school experience at defensive end. Outside of Miller, no one in that list had any fanfare coming to Corvallis, yet all of them left having made a huge impact by their junior or senior years. Coach Joe also has a knack for taking junior college players like Dorian Smith and James Lee and in a short time turning them into guys that find themselves on NFL squads.
The players that want to seek out OSU are players that are high motor and highly motivated. Draft analysts like to throw around terms like tweeners for guys they are trying to plug into their morbidly inaccurate draft lists. In this case, those tweeners, assuming they are willing to work and are high motor guys, can thrive at OSU. While I want to see five star defensive tackles coming to OSU, the reality is that Defensive Line is the most premium position in football these days, so those chances are slim. But guys that want the best chance to fulfill their NFL dreams and are athletic enough to make that dream a reality should look at OSU. Coach Joe has put a lot of players in to the NFL, even if just for season or so, that no one gave a shot four or five years prior.
If my kid was a high motor athlete that was just a little too short or a little too small to get the attention of a lot of schools, I would definitely look at Oregon State and what Coach Joe can do for me. While I never advocate getting less than the best players you can, in terms of defensive line, sometimes those best players are not the ones that everyone else is lining up for. Sometimes you have to make them and Coach Seumalo is good at that.