The cornerbacks will be thrown at a lot this season. The opposition knows the Beavers lost two solid cornerbacks and will look to exploit the inexperienced players. The young players will give up some big plays, but will learn from their mistakes.
Competition between the players is healthy and will keep the players motivated. Be patient with the corners early on, they will get beat, but they will improve, they will make some plays, and they will become quality defenders.
As a group they are very physical and will not back down from physical receivers.
Aric Williams a 6-foot-0, 171-pound player is the smallest corner on the team, but the number one corner. Although Williams is undersized, he has quick feet and is very physical. The Los Angeles native prefers to jam receivers at the line then drop back into coverage.
Aric Williams hopes to get his hands on plenty of passes this season.
The opposition will pick on Williams early in the season. Beaver fans may see several big plays in the first few games, but as Williams becomes accustomed to being a starter he will improve. He has a great attitude and loves to play football.
Williams also possesses a great work ethic that will carry him far in 2003.
Lining up on the other side of the field is 6-foot-4, 193-pound freshman Brandon Browner. The big cornerback took the starting position away from senior Shamon Jamerson with his impressive play this spring.
With great speed and long arms, Browner has the potential to cover any receiver. But he is young and inexperienced and needs game time to become accustomed to Pac-10 football.
The California native would often line up against James Newson and consistently got beat by the OSU record holder. Despite being beat by Newson, Browner was not afraid to line up against one of the best receivers in the nation. Practicing against Newson will only make Browner better.
Browner also has a great work ethic and should have a superb career at Oregon State.
Shamon Jamerson lost his starting spot to Browner in April, but continued to work hard. Jamerson may have lost his spot partly because of his recurring problems with injuries. The Compton native sat out a weeks’ worth of practice after aggravating a calf injury.
The 5-foot-11, 184-pound player is slightly undersized and relies on his ability to jam a receiver at the line of scrimmage. Jamerson and Browner will probably share playing time this year. The more game experience the players receive, the better they will play.
Following the senior cornerback are two freshmen, Kellen Marshall and Robert Herbert. Both absorbed a lot of teaching during the practices and were the two most improved players on the defensive side of the ball at the conclusion of drills.
Marshall and Herbert had trouble staying with the receivers at first, but after some fine tuning and teaching by Lewis the two improved their covering ability.
One of the keys to their improvements was their physical play. At first they wouldn’t jam the receivers and weren’t physical in the open field. After getting comfortable with the coaching and their teammates they settled in and started to stick with the receivers better.
Marshall and Herbert will continue to improve with more practice. Again, each showed a commitment to work on their technique and never give up on a play.
Robert Herbert and Kellen Marshall are the future of OSU cornerbacks.
In the future, Beaver Nation could be looking at a 6-foot-4, 193-pound corner on one side of the field (Browner) and a 6-foot-1, 200-pound corner on the other side (Herbert). The aforementioned duo coupled with Sabby Piscitelli and Harvey Whiten in the backfield could be one of the premier secondaries in the country.
The Beavers other senior, D.J. Coote, started the spring regime battling for a starting position. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound player has the size to play in the Pac-10, but lacks the work ethic. Numerous times Coote would give up on a play after being beat, something the coaches did not appreciate.
Coote also hurt his cause by showing up late to a couple of practices; this may or may not have not been do to school responsibilities. Although Coote has the physical skills, he has a tough battle to receive playing time in 2003.
Jamaal Jackson rounds out the cornerbacks in 2003. The 5-foot-11, 178-pound player is undersized like many of the Beaver corners, but lacks the speed of Williams and Marshall. Jackson will probably not see any playing time this year.
BeaverFootball.com’s Cornerback Rankings
1. Aric Williams, Junior (6-0, 171) – solid defender with a great attitude and work ethic, very physical.
2. Brandon Browner, Freshman (6-4, 193) – big corner, who could become one of the best corners in OSU football history, has long arms and decent speed.
3. Shamon Jamerson, Senior (5-11, 184) – injury prone player who lost his starting job to Browner, continues to work hard, will receive some playing time in 2003.
4. Kellen Marshall, Freshman (5-10, 179) – worked hard during practice and will improve as he spends more time with the coaches and teammates.
5. Robert Herbert, Freshman (6-1, 200) – got progressively more physical during the Spring and improved greatly, has good speed and size, good upside.
6. D.J. Coote, Senior (6-1, 199) – needs to work harder to move up the depth chart, does not give 100% every play, gives up on some plays.
7. Jamaal Jackson, Sophomore (5-11, 178) - faces an uphill battle for playing time, plays hard, but too many skilled players in front of him.