ROUNDUP: Notes and news as OSU eyes 2009

OREGON STATE WILL be ranked in the final Top 25 for the third straight season when the end-of-the-year polls come out. If the Beavers are going to make it four in a row in 2009, they'll need to replace a number of key performers. Some of those expected to be battling for starting positions next season saw time as backups in '08. Other candidates spent the year on the scout team.

Oregon State will replace four starters on offense -- receivers Sammie Stroughter and Shane Morales, the left side of the offensive line in Andy Levitre and Adam Speer -- five if you include Tavita Thompson, who started the last five games of the season at right tackle.

On defense, it's a similar situation to last year when the Beavs replaced their entire starting front seven. In 2009, OSU will return but three starting players on D -- d-tackle Stephen Paea, SLB Keaton Kristick and WLB Keith Pankey.

Where will the new starters come from? Among those Mike Riley told the Oregonian were standouts on the scout team defensively this season; d-tackles Castro Masaniai and Jesse Fifita, defensive end Matt LaGrone, linebackers Tony Wilson and Zane Norris and safety Josh LaGrone. On offense, receivers Jordan Bishop, Kevan Walker and Geno Munoz caught the eye of Beaver coaches, while Brent McNeil, Timi Oshinowo, Wilder McAndrews are all in the mix on the o-line.

Mike Remmers, who started seven games at right tackle before Thompson was deemed eligible, and was a huge part of the OSU success against USC in the first half, would seem a pretty sure bet to earn one of the tackle spots.

On the defensive line, Brennan Olander was the first defensive tackle off the bench this season and, all things being equal, appears the most likely candidate to start alongside Stephen Paea with the graduation of Pernnell Booth.

But don't forget about Sioeli Nau, Mitchel Hunt and Latu Moala.

All three will be back and all saw quality time in rotation this season. Regardless of how it shakes out in terms of starters at d-tackle, OSU looks to have a formidable interior group headed into spring ball.

The Beavs will replace both starting defensive ends and Kevin Frahm and Ben Terry will need to make the transition from backups who saw a decent amount of time into full time, productive starters. If Simi Kuli qualifies, the position gets that much stronger.

LB David Pa'aluhi III had an excellent season as a key reserve and is the leading middle 'backer candidate, while Dwight Roberson will push for starting consideration on the outside having seen considerable playing time this past season.

NOTES:
Riley and staff will hit the recruiting trail on Monday and will be on the road throughout the month save for the quiet and dead periods, and the recruiting weekends. Riley told the Gazette Times Jan. 16 is expected to see the biggest number of official visitors. Key recruiting dates are listed below.

OT Geoff Garner and RB Jovan Stevenson have begun the OSU bridge program and are now in the fold. Garner was part of the '06 Beaver recruiting class and returned from his two year Mormon mission last month. Stevenson signed as part of the '08 class but by enrolling in '09, he'll have the benefit of going through offseason workouts and spring ball before fall camp begins. Each has full eligibility, five years to play four.

Gregg Peat, the starting right guard, will have off-season surgery on his shoulder. McAndrews had recent surgery to repair his broken wrist and may not be ready for full participation in spring drills.

Spring practice begins March 30. The annual spring game is slated for May 2.

RECRUITING DATES:
January 2-4: Quiet period
Jan. 5-10: Contact Period
January 11: Quiet period
January 12-15, 2009: Dead period*
*Contact with any mid-year transfers who are enrolled and required to be on campus to attend institutional orientation sessions for all students is allowed during the Jan. 12-15 dead period.
January 16-17: Quiet period
Jan. 18-31: Contact period
February 1: Quiet period
February 2-5: Dead period
Feb. 4: Signing Day


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