What's with all the defensive end commits?

THE MOST recent commitments for Oregon State, on paper anyway, are a sought linebacker and yet another defensive end. The linebacker, Lavonte Barnett, had multiple Pac-10 offers and should make Beaver Nation stand up and take notice. The defensive end, Lamar DeRego from San Jose City College, poses an already often-asked question.. Just how many defensive end recruits can one school take?

But things on Signing Day in February, they aren't always as they appear on paper in December.

First though, Lavonte Barnett, who had offers from OSU, Cal and WSU this recruiting season, is a three-star, 6-foot-2, 228-pound difference maker out of Paraclete High in Lancaster, Calif.

He had 16 sacks this season.

Barnett will probably get his first look at outside linebacker but he could play on the offensive side of the ball at tight end or h-back for the Beavs – he had 18 catches for 300 yards and five touchdowns this past season.

DeRego‘s tape from his sophomore season at San Jose City College shows an explosive 6-foot-3, 253-pounder. He posted 47 tackles (29 solo) this past season with 4.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, a pass break up and two forced fumbles.

But with DeRego, whose verbal was reported by the Albany Democrat Herald, OSU now has seven defensive ends on the commit list, with three of them junior college transfers – there's also Rusty Fernando and Blake Harrah who have already signed and will enroll at OSU in January. DeRego is expected to arrive prior to fall camp, likely in June, with the rest of OSU's signing class.

SO WHAT GIVES with all the defensive ends?

First, Oregon State had a definite need there, and it was also an immediate one. But it would also seem likely for some of those players listed at d-end commits to line up elsewhere. DeRego's tape shows him, in addition to playing with his hand down, to line up at the LEO spot -- an athletic defensive end primarily playing in a stand up posture. The main task at the LEO is to rush the QB, but he also usually lines up on the strong side and has the coverage skills to drop back in coverage with the tight end.

Some others listed as OSU d-end commits might become d-tackles, or move to other positions.

Still others might redshirt.

And still others could delay enrollment.

In other words, there are a lot of different possibilities so that in the end, the numbers fill out as they should.

By the way, Barnett, who is listed as the No. 61 ranked outside linebacker prospect in the nation by Scout.com, where he lines up won't be determined until fall camp -- he could also play defensive end or the LEO.

And why not? Everyone else in this 2011 Oregon State class seems to be able to!


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