Please note these selections are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily the BeaverBlitz staff as a whole. That said, what’s a little friendly debate? Go Beavs!
Offensive MVP: Ryan Nall (951 yards rushing, 6.5 yards per carry, and 13 touchdowns; also caught 22 passes for 214 yards and two TDs.)
Despite missing two games due to injury and playing less than 100 percent healthy most of the season, the sophomore put up impressive numbers — finishing third in the Pac-12 in rushing, and tied for second in TDs. An effective Nall was the clear catalyst for the Beavers on offense this season, as evident from his performance in the Civil War. That’s why he’s the easy nod for this award.
Honorable mention: Victor Bolden
Defensive MVP: Caleb Saulo (Final 2016 stats: 95 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 4 sacks, and an interception)
Rather quietly, Saulo enjoyed one of the best campaigns by a linebacker in OSU history, no small feat considering the program’s lineage at the program in the 90s and early 2000s. But he finished with the second most tackles in the conference, and was third in tackles per game at 7.9. He was a steady presence for a young defense that improved throughout the season.
Honorable mention: Treston Decoud
Unsung MVP: Devin Chappell (Final 2016 stats: 77 tackles, 1 sack and interception, 7 pass break ups, and 6 forced fumbles)
The former walk-on from Western Oregon arguably was the heart and soul of the OSU defense this season. He set the tone with his physical play, often delivering jarring hits. His six forced fumbles is one of the top season totals in program history. His selection as a team captain this season was well deserved, as much like Saulo, Chappell was a strong leader for the Beavers.
Honorable mention: Marcus McMaryion
Top Newcomer: Xavier Crawford (Final 2016 stats: 70 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack and interception, 10 pass break ups, and 11 passes defended)
If there was a concern about the OSU secondary heading into the season, it was who would step up opposite of Decoud. Well, Crawford did — and in a big way. The sophomore strong in coverage, recording double figures in both passes defended and broken up. For his strong performance he earned conference honorable mention.
Honorable mention: Artavis Pierce
This duo was my pick at midseason as well, and the secondary’s performance in the second half of the season did nothing to change my perception of the great job Hall and Odom did this year. The Beavers finished the season fourth in the Pac-12 in pass defense, allowing 211 yards per game. Not too shabby considering how bad the Beavers were torched last season.
Honorable mention: Kevin Clune
Top Performance: Marcus McMaryion’s 5-TD Performance
Despite being No. 3 on the depth chart at one point, McMaryion hung in there and prepared for his turn to shine. After injuries led to him becoming the starter midway through the season, McMaryion filled in admirably. But he really shined against Arizona, tossing a school-record five TDs, while leading the Beavers to a blowout victory. He delivered as he needed to in that game, in a big way!
Honorable mention: Ryan Nall’s 4-TD performance against Oregon.
Top Play(s): Twenty-One Straight Rushes in the Civil War
It wasn’t that long ago, but still, it never gets old, you know the memory of the Beavers running 21 straight times down Oregon’s throat in the Civil War. But not only did that dominant sequence pull the Beavers in control of a tight content, but enabled them to chew valuable time off the clock, which was paramount against an explosive Oregon offense. Way to really exploit a weakness and rub it in!
Honorable mention: Darrel Garretson’s game-winning TD in overtime against California.
Blitzers, who would get your 2016 award nods?