The Future Playmakers, Part I

THE EXPECTATION IS that the early contributors from the 2011 class will be primarily among the January enrollees, some of whom are JC transfers, and that OSU will redshirt as many as they can of the summer arrivals. But Oregon State has a large group in the '11 class who might well make strong cases for early playing time.

These are prospects BF.C projects to have the potential to be significant contributors by their second year in the program.

Historically, the Beavs always try to redshirt the vast majority of their incoming frosh -- it's how you build a program for the long haul -- but due to a combination of team need and player skill, significant contributions could instead come from some of them as early as this season.

DE Rusty Fernando: The JUCO transfer's claim to fame is rushing the passer. Oregon State didn't get enough production out of their d-ends, and d-line as a whole, last year. And increased competition has a way of helping change that. The early January start was a must for the undersized Fernando, who was a First Team All-Region pick at Glendale in 2010. While lauds his "tremendous motor and speed", he's light in the wallet at the Pac-12 level, listed at 6-3, 200 pounds. If he can put on some muscle and bulk between now and August, and hold onto his quickness, he could help OSU early.

DE Blake Harrah: Like Fernando, Harrah is likely to have every opportunity to earn significant playing time this season for OSU coming out of Saddleback College. Harrah isn't the prototypical size for a d-end either (6-1, 236) but he's physical, the Beaver coaches told him during his recruitment they're counting on him to have an immediate impact and his advanced knowledge of the game has come in part from being the son of 13-year NFL lineman and six-time Pro Bowler Dennis Harrah.

OL Justin Addie: Offensive linemen in general benefit substantially from a redshirt year and in Addie's case, he missed his entire senior season with a broken wrist, so a redshirt seems a foregone conclusion. It also leads to more question marks on him than your average incoming rookie, though it also speaks to how highly Oregon State viewed him – most guys who don't play their senior year due to injury fall off the recruiting map, Addie is instead heading to the Pac-12.

RB Malcolm Agnew: As has been well chronicled, Oregon State has a huge hole to fill at running back with the departure of Jacquizz Rodgers. One reason to think Agnew might be a first year starting candidate, his versatility and ability to run outside. Another reason to think so, Mike Riley said he will be a bone-fide contender for the job in the fall. He's an exciting player, with some wiggle and shake to his game. He missed part of his senior season to injury, and at 5-10, 180, there's always going to be a concern among fans if a running back that size is durable enough to play that first year in the Pac-12.

RB Storm Woods: Riley said Woods is right there with Agnew and he considers them to be equal from a production standpoint. And while both have high football IQs, one thing Woods might have an edge over Agnew in is his blocking ability. In college football, running backs, no matter their ability with the ball in their hands, must be adept blockers – it's the first thing Quizz told Woods back during his official visit when the latter asked about how he should go about trying to play in his first season. Woods is also a little bigger, at 5-11, 205, than Agnew. But whether one of both plays early or redshirts is pick ‘em at this point.

DE Desmond Collins: Listed as a 6-3, 240-pound d-end, the Salt Lake City product played both inside and outside during his senior year. He seems a likely redshirt candidate but one of the more respected analysts, Greg Biggins, called him "one of the top defensive ends in the West and is another piece to what is becoming a very strong class for the Beavers." Collins this past season was named first team all-region and all-state, racking up 61 tackles, with 14 for loss and 10.5 sacks.

DE Lavonte Barnett: Keep an eye on this guy. He was slotted as a linebacker all season by recruiting services but OSU lists him as a defensive end (6-2, 235). No one seems to be talking much about him but he has serious quicks, leading to 64 tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss, 16 sacks and four pass deflections his senior season. Whether he's a DE, an outside ‘backer or plays a LEO-type position at Oregon State, he has loads of potential. The main question is does OSU redshirt him or is the combination of need and his ability coming straight out of high school such that he plays early.

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