A closer look at the Beaver DL youth

CORVALLIS -- Oregon State for 2013 loses its two starting defensive tackles to graduation – who will fill the void? BF.C takes a closer look at some of the younger d-line players on the OSU roster who spent the past season polishing up their game.

DT Desmond Collins (RS FR - 6-4, 269) spent most of his time between fall camp and the regular season on the sideline with a leg injury. Mike Riley during bowl week mentioned that he still had a lot of work to do before he is back in "football shape" but having officially gotten back into pads and working with the 2's/scout team towards the end of the season, he showed enough.

Collins looked the part of a tough, grinding defensive tackle. He appears bigger than his listing indicates, and has a lot of leverage when working the interior of the line.

With a spring session and fall camp yet to come, Collins has the potential to be a big play maker for the Beavs, especially in stopping the run. But will that be realized this year or does he need another year of seasoning? It's too early to tell.

DT – Noke Tago (FR 6-1, 290) My vote for "sleeper" on the defensive line. He wasn't going to see a lot of action in 2012, not a huge surprise considering he was a freshman working behind seniors Andrew Seumalo and Castro Masaniai. But Tago has a bit of a nasty streak and solid technique for a younger guy.

He is a bit stouter than some of his counterparts, and I am a firm believer that shorter linemen who understand how to use their natural leverage advantage are often more effective. The DT spots are up for grabs now – rest assured Tago is going to vie for a spot.

DT Brandon Bennett (RS FR – 6-3, 267) Looks a bit more like a defensive end than an interior lineman, but he still gets a strong push against some of the bigger guys he faces in the trenches.

Bennett is a prime example of how OSU wants speed at every position, even if it means sacrificing a bit of size. He is quick around his blocks with a speedy swim move and decent vision through blockers.

But speed means little when you can't squeeze by those bigger guys up front. I'm skeptical of whether Bennett will remain at defensive tackle if he remains the same size and shape, but I'm not skeptical that he is talented option no matter where he lands.

DE - Lavonte Barnett (RS FR 6-2, 245) another standout who is relegated to a certain level of obscurity due to the attention that Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn receive. Barnett is a speedy guy with uncanny strength for his size, and he is one of the best amongst the younger guys at easing around the outside edge and pressuring the QB.

I've also thought Barnett would make a decent transition to a linebacker slot if he was ever needed - he appears to be a very versatile young defender.

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