Left Defensive End:
A year older and hopefully a year smarter for both Joe Lemma and Joe Rudulph. Lemma relies strictly on his speed to get by the offensive line while Rudulph sometimes uses some muscle to power past. Both ends will see plenty of time on the field as the coaches rotate them in and to keep them fresh.
Left Defensive Tackle:
Injured: Ben Siegert (Jr., 6-4, 275)
The injury to Ben Siegert doesn't help, but luckily the team has some depth at tackle. Alvin Smith is looking of have a breakout year and is a monster in the middle. Naymon Frank is improving and will see increased time, Pernell Booth is still a work in progress.
Right Defensive Tackle:
Sir Henry Anderson has lots to prove as he has been slowed down by injuries his entire career. If he can stay healthy he will provide the Beavers with three excellent tackles. Curtis Coker continues to refine his skills and is sure to see his time increase. William Vea is a long shot at playing time.
Right Defensive End:
Injured: Derek Hall (Sr., 6-3, 257)
Jeff Van Orsow is an animal and will need to have a big year to keep the pressure off of the inexperienced secondary. Victor Butler is thrown into the fire right off the bat and is expected to contribute on special teams as well. Derek Hall's experience is needed badly after he recovers from his injury.
Strong Side Linebacker:
Keith Ellison is poised to have a breakout year after a season of Pac-10 ball on his resume. Dennis Christopher is raw, but learning quickly. He could be a special teams standout.
The glue that holds the linebackers together is Trent Bray as he takes a run at the OSU record books. Alan Darlin had a shot at the weak side spot but will be Bray's backup. Eric Moala will gain valuable experience on special teams.
Weak Side Linebacker:
Redshirting: Garrett Childress (Fr., 6-3, 205)
Derrick Doggett took over the vacated spot by Chaz Scott and will provide some of the fiery spark on the field that will be gone in Scott's absence. Andy Darkins received valuable practice time with the first team and will be a solid backup. Isiah Cook is developing and could be another special teams standout. Bryant Cornell may redshirt although Riley has said he might help out on special teams.
Redshirting: Patrick Henderson (5-10, 175)
Keenan Lewis separated himself from the competition in spring and further distanced himself in August. He is the best corner on the team and could turn a lot of heads. Rickey Herod is still refining his game; the same goes for Brandon Hughes.
Redshirting: Tim Clark (Fr., 6-2, 175)
Gerard Lawson, Aaron Miller and Kellen Marshall will all see time at cornerback. If one is not working out look for the others to get a shot to shine.
Lamar Herron integrated nicely with the first unit and has good chemistry with Sabby Piscitelli. Al Afalava will see time on special teams and could be overtaken by Matt Sieverson, who has more experience, on the depth chart. Bryan Payton is green and it will take some time to adjust to his new position.
Sabby Piscitelli is head and shoulders above his teammates and he should be with one extra season and a full season of starting under his belt. Piscitelli has a reputation for delivering big hits and with the addition of 15 pounds he will be able to pack even more punch. Drayton is a significant step down from Piscitelli and sat out several practices with an injury.
Redshirting: Jake Harry (Fr., 5-11, 186)
In just his first year Sam Paulescu had one of the more successful seasons for a punter in OSU history. He just missed leading the conference in yards per kick and he was deadly at placing the ball towards the sideline inside the twenty. This year will be even better as he is punting the ball higher, longer and more accurate. His skills during fall camp were downright amazing as he was kicking towering 50 yard punts inside the ten that would bounce out of bounds.