BeaversEdge Top 25 for 2021: No. 2 Omar Speights
In the months leading up to the start of fall camp, BeaversEdge.com will be counting down the Top 25 Oregon State football players on the 2021 roster.
Want to give your two cents on the rankings? Subscribe to BeaversEdge.com to join The Dam Board and weigh in on the conversation.
Crescent Valley (OR)
2020 STATS: 63 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and one sack
In his first season as a full-time starter at inside linebacker in 2020, Speights played and started in all seven of Oregon State's contests.
After bursting onto the scene and putting together one of the more impressive true-freshman campaigns in recent Oregon State memory back in 2019, Speights followed up his stellar first season with an even better 2020 campaign.
The 6-foot-1, 227-pounder finished second in the Pac-12 in total tackles (63) while also recording 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Given that Speights recorded over 70 tackles in 12 games in '19, he would have easily shattered those marks if the '20 season had been a full-slate.
For his efforts this past season, Speights was named Phil Steele All-Pac-12 Second Team and Coaches All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. His season-best performance came against Utah when he tallied a season-best 13 tackles and one tackle for loss.
Heading into the 2021 season, it's going to be very interesting to see how much further Speights can elevate his game.
There's no question that he's been unbelievably impressive during his time in Corvallis and I'm intrigued to see what improvements he's made to his game since the conclusion of the season.
The duo of Speights and fellow inside 'backer Avery Roberts is arguably the best 1-2 punch at the position in the conference and I think this is going to be the year where their stellar play directly influences the rest of the defense.
While at times last year it was very clear those two guys were the best defenders on the field, that gap is going to be much closer this season. The Beavers have done a nice job surrounding their two defensive stars with more depth and talent, and I believe that's going to pay dividends on the field.
Speights has steadily emerged as one of the best players on this team, hence his No. 2 ranking, and heading into his sophomore season eligibility-wise, he's primed to have one of the best seasons of anyone on the defensive side of the ball.