Breaking Down the Beavers: DBs

What about the OSU secondary this season? We’ve got you covered with this “Breaking Down the Beavers” post focusing on Oregon State’s cornerbacks and safeties. At the moment, there appears to be some uncertainty at corner, while safety appears set, despite the loss of both last year’s starters. Scratch that, safety could be the Beavers’ strongest position in 2015. And could a JUCO transfer make the same kind of impact that Steven Nelson did for OSU?

Who’s returning:
Cornerback
Larry Scott (SR), Charles Okownko (SOPH), Chris Hayes (SOPH), Dwayne Williams (FR), Kendall Hill (JR), Devin Chappell (JR), Xavier Crawford (FR), and Naji Patrick (SR).

Safety
Justin Strong (SOPH), Cyril Noland-Lewis (JR), Brandon Arnold (SOPH), and Adam Soesman (FR).

Who’s gone:
Cornerback
Steven Nelson (drafted in 3rd round by Kansas City), Malcolm Marable (graduated), Dashon Hunt (retired due to health reasons), and Kevin Hayes (dismissed for violation of team rules).

Safety
Ryan Murphy (drafted in 7th round by Seattle) andTy Zimmerman (signed as a FA with Kansas City) — both of whom were multiple-year starters for the Beavers.

New faces: 
Cornerback
JUCO transfer Treston DeCloud; incoming freshmen Jay Irvine, Jalen Rakin Moore, Omar Hicks-Enu, and Shawn Wilson.

Potential strength:
Cornerback
Having a senior in Scott helps balance out the inexperience at this position. Williams, Okownko, and Hayes all have potential, but have yet to line up in a game. DeCloud could provide an immediate boost to this unit and should compete for the starting job. And keep an eye on Chappell. The walk-on turned heads during spring ball.

Safety
Not to discount Murphy and Zimmerman’s contributions, but the combination Strong, Lewis, and Arnold, could be an improvement. The first two played quite a bit last season and performed well. They seemed to be everywhere and were sure tacklers, the latter of which Murphy and Zimmerman struggled with at times.

Potential weakness:
Cornerback
Is this unit ready to step up and handle facing Pac-12 offenses week in and out? Quarterbacks are going to go at the OSU corners, so they will need to have a short memory this season and hang in there during rough moments. And not that height matters, but this is not a tall unit, so bigger receivers could pose challenges.

Safety
Will the safeties be asked to do more than they can handle to help the corners this season? Could that put them in tough positions to make plays, either out of position or having to run down opponents? Other than that, I’m having hard time seeing how this unit doesn’t thrive. It has proven it can make plays and all players are year older.

Way-too-early prediction:
Collectively, the OSU secondary should be pretty solid, if not strong this season. Yes, it only returns on starter from last season, but Strong and Noland-Lewis have plenty of experience. And If the front seven plays well, that will take pressure off the starter opposite Scott at corner. Either way, the Beavers shouldn’t have to worry too much about the secondary.

Go Beavs! (RW)

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