Depth chart analysis - Defense

WHERE DO THINGS stand in the battle at the one cornerback spot? How about weakside linebacker? One thing that was revealed on D this spring, there were plenty of standouts up and down the OSU defensive line, where three of four starters will be new this season. gives our take of the defensive two-deeps and breaks 'em all down post-spring and heading into the summer months.


Defensive Two-Deeps

LE 74 Kevin Frahm SO 6-2 255
  91 Taylor Henry RFR 6-1 222
  92 Mitchel Hunt JR 6-2 271
COMMENT:  Frahm seems to have locked up one of the defensive end spots.  He is a beast with tremendous strength and an excellent football IQ.  Coach Joe Seamalo equates him to being the quarterback of the defensive line.

The coaches are ecstatic about Henry, who is nicknamed "Nutter," and poised to become a third down speed rushing specialist.

Hunt will be playing both tackle and end giving the Beavers stouter support on the outside.

DT 54 Stephen Paea JR 6-1 293
  78 Brennan Olander JR 6-1 274
  98 Castro Masaniai RFR 6-2 299
  96 Jesse Fifita RFR 6-1 276
COMMENT:  Paea dominated whoever lined up against him and is poised to have a monster junior year, but needs some help.

Olander was competing for a starting spot, but was slowed down by a foot injury.

Masaniai and Fifita got plenty of repetitions. Both are high energy, naturally strong athletes and should get in the rotation this year.

Expect to see, just like year's past, a lot of rotation on the defensive line.

DT 97 Sioeli Nau SR 6-2 307
  95 Latu Moala SR 6-1 294
  77 Evan Hull JR 6-4 256

COMMENT: Moala had a nice spring camp and could jump to being a starter. The coaches really love his energy and how he stepped up his game in the spring.

Nau has been in the system for several years and is a run stopping specialist. He should see plenty of time, if not start most games.

Hull showed some impressive moves, but usually against the third string offensive line.

RE 55 Ben Terry SR 6-2 243
  83 Gabe Miller JR 6-3 231
  49 Andrew Seumalo RFR 6-3 238

COMMENT: Terry solidified himself as the every down defensive end. A quiet leader who is very intense and a very hard worker he looks like a smaller DeLawerence Grant.

Miller transitioned very quickly to defensive end. With his athletic, thundering steps he was a nightmare for the offensive tackles.

Matt LaGrone, who sat out with a wrist injury, is back in the fall. The coaches love his size and speed and expect him to be a big part of the defensive line.

SAM 32 Keaton Kristick SR 6-3 226
  29 Zane Norris RFR 6-2 200
  39 Kameron Krebs RFR 6-0 207

COMMENT: Kristick is one of the conference's best linebackers and he was all over the field in the spring. He had some impressive hits in the spring game despite holding some of his hitting ability back.

Norris is second on the depth chart, but don't expect him to see much playing time as Kristick will be on the field every single down.

MLB 45 David Pa'aluhi SO 5-11 229
  43 Tony Wilson RFR 6-1 219
  48 Walker Vave JR 6-2 230
  52 Keo Camat JR 6-2 233

COMMENT: Pa'aluhi will be the first sophomore linebacker to start at OSU since Richard Seigler who was an All-American as a freshman. Pa'aluhi is one of the fastest linebackers on the team and one of the hardest hitters.

Wilson looked like he was earning himself some playing time before injuring his knee. It is not yet known how long he will be out but as it is with all knee ligament injuries, it's possible he won't be back for the 2009 season.

That means the door is wide open for Vave and Camat. Riley has praised Camat before and now the door is wide open - all Camat has to do is step through.

WLB 59 Dwight Roberson JR 6-0 238
  35 Keith Pankey JR 6-0 211

COMMENT: Riley has said it doesn't really matter who starts because both Pankey and Roberson will receive, at this point, equal playing time.

Pankey is quick and can track down the ball carrier well, but his size last season sometimes made him susceptible to being run over.

Roberson doesn't practice to his ability at times, but in game situations he shines. The proof was again on display in the spring game when he picked off one pass and forced a fumble.

CB 21 Tim Clark SR 6-0 170
  3 Patrick Henderson SR 5-10 175
  20 Keynan Parker RFR 5-11 168

COMMENT:  The elder statesman Clark is the leader of a depleted secondary. But, he received adequate playing time both as a starter and backup in the last two seasons.

He tracks the ball well in the air and has a decent wingspan.

Henderson was competing with Hardin and Dockery for the other cornerback position before being slowed down by an ankle injury. He needs to be more consistent to solidify his prospects for playing time.

Unless something dramatic occurs, Parker probably has one more year of seasoning before he will see the field.

S 28 Suaesi Tuimaunei JR 6-1 208
  5 Cameron Collins SO 6-2 216
  47 Anthony Watkins RFR 6-1 214

COMMENT:  Tuimaunei has the starting nod at one of the safety positions, but will likely split time with Collins.

Both are big hitters, but Collins is the more athletic of the two and had numerous impressive picks.

It wouldn't be surprising to see Collins receive more playing time as the season wears on but some growing pains were also evident this spring.

S 10 Lance Mitchell SO 6-2 205
  26 Josh LaGrone RFR 6-1 181

COMMENT: Mitchell may the next solid safety in the Beaver system -- he is smart, aggressive and not afraid to bring the pain.

LaGrone got plenty of snaps as well.

CB 4 James Dockery JR 6-1 175
  17 Brandon Hardin SO 6-2 206
  2 David Ross SO 6-0 185
  38 Brian Watkins RFR 5-9 174

COMMENT:  This spot remains a battle royale. Dockery and Hardin (and Henderson) are locked in one of the more intriguing position battles that's expected to continue in fall camp.

Hardin is a beast with safety size, but cornerback quickness. Unfortunately this spring, a pulled quad and needed surgery on his right wrist slowed him down.

Dockery is one of the team's most vocal players. He has a passion for the game and is a superb athlete.

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