SCOUTING: Young guns on OSU's 2013 o-line

CORVALLIS -- With the book now closed on the 2012 season, it's time to look ahead and to the young up-and-comers -- some of whom look poised to impact the 2013 season. And what better place to start than on the position grouping that caused so much discussion in Oregon State's bowl game – the offensive line.

Based on what I saw in practice and with an emphasis on the bowl game practices, here's my take on the young guns in the OSU offensive line.

Gavin Andrews (FR – 6-5, 324) Next to Dylan Wynn, Riley named Andrews the guy most likely to succeed as a pro wrestler. A trivial note, perhaps. But dig a little deeper and it means Andrews has an aggressive streak, and I've seen traces of it. Take his size into account, add a little grit courtesy of Mike Cavanaugh and you have a recipe for one hell of an o-lineman. Andrews' size is desperately needed in order to develop a more effective interior running game for OSU – if everything remains on track for Andrews, he is bound to see starting time. The question is if he's ready in 2013 or if it comes later.

*Justin Addie (RS FR – 6-2, 311) – Another guy who lacks what I like to call proper ink. At Oregon State, the greatest measure of an offensive lineman's progress in practice is how little Cavanaugh shouts his name (followed by a variety of other non-family friendly nouns and verbs). During the fall, Addie was picked on a bit by Cav, but it seemed to have paid dividends by years end. In the time I spent covering the Alamo-Bowl prep, Addie continually hustled and set some solid blocks. Cav did not corral him as much as some of his counterparts, and to me that says something. Addie will likely work on the interior if/when he sees playing time, with my vote leaning toward the right guard spot. *Addie injured himself (leg/ankle) toward the end of practices leading up to San Antonio – did not appear to be serious.

Derek Nielsen (SO – 6-4, 286) – In my book, the most versatile guy Cavanaugh has at his disposal. Nielsen was essentially the handyman of the OSU front five and this includes the regular season, where Nielsen saw some starting time. He fills whatever hole is needed – he is the patch guy. Not a bad thing at all – Nielsen gets a good push no matter where he lands on the line. Some have him pegged as the guy most likely to succeed Kelly. Nielsen has seen time in practice on both the 1's and 2's, and has played center, guard, and tackle.

Grant Bays (FR – 6-1, 300) / Nolan Hansen (FR – 6-6, 250) / Josh Mitchell (FR – 6-2, 274) – There's a reason for lumping these guys together here. The three of these players all have talent, they wouldn't be at OSU if they didn't – they just haven't popped. At least not for me. Mitchell has shown the most moxie of the trio, and Bays is working with some size (Hansen, at a little above 250 not so much), but the technique really isn't there just yet. But if you believe the old adage – practice makes perfect, and spring ball will be huge for this trio if they want to jump up and proceed on an upward path.

David Keller (FR – 6-3, 309) – Gets a nod of confidence from Riley and Cavanaugh, and showed skill working as both a tackle and guard with the 2's. Keller is notably versatile, and my feeling is that he is better suited as a tackle (Keller is surprisingly light on his feet). I also get the feeling that it will probably take him two or three years to really sprout, but that is merely an educated guess prior to spring ball.


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