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July 28, 2014

Fall Camp Preview: Defensive Line

While the national spotlight focuses on the who the Beavers lost on the defensive line, many close to the program see the improved over a year ago. Scott Crichton's early departure for the NFL obviously hurt, but depth and athleticism at the two tackle positions and the return of Dylan Wynn have many excited about the unit.
POSITION VITALS
 
THE BASICS
Returning Starters: Dylan Wynn

Others Returning: Jaswha James, Noke Tago, Brandon Bennett-Jackson, Siale Hautau, Edwin Delva, Ali'i Robins, Lavonte Barnett

Newcomers: Jalen Grimble, Baker Pritchard, Obum Gwacham, Kammy Delp, Glyeb Ewing, Luke Hollingsworth, Sumner Houston, Kalani Vakameilalo, LaMone Williams

Departures: Scott Crichton, John Braun, Mana Rosa
NUMBERS TO KNOW

•In 2013 the Beaver defense gave up 2474 yards rushing, or 190.3 per game.

• Oregon State tallied 25 sacks in 2013 and forced 21 fumbles.

BATTLE TO WATCH
With no entrenched starters, the battles for the starting spots at left end and both tackle positions will be key to watch.

Aside from Crichton, the Beavers lost tackles Mana Rosa and John Braun, who had 21 starts between the two of them. Heading into 2014 however, the Beavers are legitimately six deep at the tackle position and project to have senior Siale Hautau and junior transfer Jalen Grimble start.

[ More Blitz: Get to know Glyeb Ewing]

The depth at tackle is promising, as is the increased athleticism a player like Grimble brings to the field. The 300 pounder is nimble and has good feet for his size. Hautau is listed at 350 pounds and will clog the run lanes.

Edwin Delva, Ali'i Robins, Noke Tago and Brandon Bennett-Jackson round out the rotation at tackle. All have been a part of Coach Seumalo's system for at least two seasons.

At defensive end, the line is anchored by senior Dylan Wynn, who leads the entire team with 32 starts. Lavonte Barnett is poised for a big year backing up Wynn while newcomer Baker Pritchard looks to continue to learn the system.

Scout team Player of the Year, Titus Failauga heads into the season as James' back-up with receiver turned defensive end Obum Gwacham rounding out the pre-season depth chart.

QUESTION HEADING INTO CAMP

How well will Jaswha James adjust to being an every down defensive end in replacing Crichton? As the season progressed last year, James really came into his own and was an aggressive defender. This year he must make the transition to playing a more steady role in the defense.

The other big question mark that has loomed for over a year now is whether or not 2013 signee Kyle Peko will in fact wear a Beaver uniform in 2014.

NEWCOMERS

[More Blitz: Get to know Kalani Vakameilalo]

There are several newcomers to watch this fall, including junior college transfer Luke Hollingsworth who is looking to come in and help with immediate depth at defensive end.

[More Blitz: Get to know LaMone Williams]

Oregon State also recruited a couple prep defensive tackles in Kalani Vakameilalo and Kammy Delp. While Delp would add depth at tackle, it appears he may get his first look on the offensive line as Coach Cavanaugh looks to shore up the offensive front. Vakameilalo on the other hand is 100% a defensive tackle and it is the first time since the late-Fred Thompson that the Beavers have had a 300 pound prep tackle in the mix.

[More Blitz: Get to know Luke Hollingsworth]

The Beavers also have three defensive ends who have been on campus in the Bridge Program this summer in Sumner Houston, Glyeb Ewing, and LaMone Williams, however Houston could make the move inside and Delp could still move back over to the defensive side of the ball.

[More Blitz: Get to know Sumner Houston]

PRESSURE IS ON

Watching Obum Gwacham at defensive end this spring and it really seemed like a position that he should have been playing all along. The expiriment of him playing wide receiver went way too long, but he has his chance to make a big move this season.

Brandon Bennett-Jackson also has a chance to increase his stock, especially with Delva and Hautau in their final year of eligibility.

PRE-CAMP DEPTH CHART
Heading into Fall Camp here is how BeaverBlitz.com sees the depth chart potentially shaking out.
LEFT END
1. Jaswha James JR  
2. Titus Failauga RFr.  
LEFT TACKLE
1. Jalen Grimble JR  
2. Noke Tago SO  
RIGHT TACKLE
1. Siale Hautau SR  
2. Edwin Delva SR 1 career start
RIGHT END
1. Dylan Wynn SR 32 career starts
2. Lavante Barnett JR  





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