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April 3, 2012Spring Camp begins today, and perhaps no one is more excited to hit the field than the freshmen who redshirted last season. For them, this is their first taste of spring drills after spending the winter months getting bigger and stronger.
Several players stood out on the scout team last fall and have been putting in the work in the weight room. So, let's dive into our annual Redshirt Review to reintroduce Beaver Nation to the young guys to keep an eye on in the month ahead.
Coach Riley and the Beavers got bad news in regards to offensive lineman Darryl Jackson who must hang up the cleats due to a recurring injury. While a raw talent, Jackson had many in Corvallis excited.
Justin Addie is the lone offensive lineman left from the 2011 signing class. He will get more than a shot this spring as he is set to be the left tackle for spring drills.
Addie has been working his way back from a wrist injury that has been slow to heal, but he is 100% and should be ready to go. He is currently a little heavy at 6-foot-2, 323 pounds, but he will be seeing a ton of reps this spring as he looks to continue to learn Coach Cavanaugh's system.
One of the biggest question marks on the team right now is 'who will grab the starting running back role.' While several freshmen saw action last season, Storm Woods is looking to jump into the mix as well.
Woods has added ten pounds and was a standout on the scout team, where he earned scout team player of the year honors. The redshirt year also helped him work on the mental part of his game as well.
"I have a better understanding of the game," Woods said. "I am more patient and more explosive."
Coach Mike Riley also mentioned Woods as being a player that he expects to jump into the rotation at tailback this spring.
Kellen Clute was the lone redshirt tight end this season, and he looks ready to go this spring.
"Clute is a redshirt freshman who had a good offseason," said Riley. "The young guys (at tight end) need to come in and have good springs."
Wide receiver may be the deepest position on the team, but that doesn't mean that Richard Mullaney and Tyler Trosin won't be looking to make their mark early.
"Tyler had a good off-season and has been banging on the weights," receiver coach Brent Brennan told BeaverBlitz. "He's been transitioning from high school to college, getting used to everything. He was such a playmaker in high school so I'm excited to see what he can do this spring."
Mullaney is one to watch however, as he was close to being ready for the action last season.
"Richard was making plays during fall camp, and we were back and forth whether we should redshirt him or not," Brennan said. "He just needed to gain some weight and muscle, really to protect him.
"He's added ten plus pounds of muscle and has been working his butt off," he continued. "I'm really expecting him to have a great spring."
Defensively, the Beavers redshirted several players who will look to make an impact in the years ahead. Starting up front on the defensive line, where Lavonte Barnett, Brandon Bennett, Desmond Collins, Akeem Gonzales, and Na'alii Robins all look to continue their growth within the Oregon State system.
Coach Riley is particularly excited about a handful of guys.
"I'm really excited about Desmond, Brandon, and Lavonte," Riley said. "They all have ability and it will be fun to see them during Spring Ball. They all showed up well on the scout team and are all athletic and fast."
Robins saw an impressive twenty pound weight gain during the off-season and is now listed at 270 pounds, so he is another athlete to keep an eye on during the month ahead. He is currently listed at defensive end, but with his size, it isn't incomprehensible to see him move inside, where the depth chart is more favorable.
At linebacker, two true freshmen, Jabral Johnson and Donell Welch played substantial minutes and Coach Riley looks at them as almost veterans heading into the 2012 season. Jaswha James and Will Storey are the two redshirt linebackers who will continue their development this month.
At 251, James has the size to play middle linebacker, but he will need some time to continue his overall development at the position. Storey has put on 12 pounds of muscle this off-season and weighed in at 227 heading into Spring Break.
Safety Peter Ashton, was also honored for his scout team play and many expect great things from him during the years to come. Sources say that there may not be a harder worker on the field as he loves to level a hit.
The biggest question for Coach Riley is where he should play.
"Peter will play in some fashion, but I'm not sure where he should play," Riley said. "He may be a safety, but he may land at outside linebacker too. He has explosion and strength and may be better suited to play down low."
Cornerback Larry Scott, who suffered a severe knee injury early on in Fall Camp is expected to be limited during the spring. His rehab is going well and he's put on 12 pounds of muscle. Many of his teammates expect him to be a breakout player for the Beavers soon.
BeaverBlitz.com will continue to follow the redshirt players throughout their Oregon State careers. Stay tuned for the latest from Spring Camp, which kick's off today at 2:45 either inside the Truax Indoor Center or Reser Stadium.