A lofty prediction for the Beavs' Paea

IT DIDN'T RATE as much national attention as did a Pac-10 quarterback's recent announcement he was returning. Such are the differences between playing defensive tackle and quarterback. And Oregon State didn't issue a press release like the UW did about Jake Locker's return -- but it was just as big, if not bigger. Because with Stephen Paea coming back to the Beavs for 2010, here's our prediction..

Consensus All-America honors.

Sure, it's an exceedingly early call. But he's also a very special player. Mark it down -- the prognostication from here is that Stephen Paea in 2010 will become Oregon State's first consensus All-America selection for the Beavers in more than 40 years, and the first ever consensus All-America defensive tackle.

Before reports came out yesterday that Paea was definitely coming back, he told the Gazette-Times earlier; "There's no question about it. I love Oregon State. It's the best. Coming back is a huge opportunity for me to get better. When I'm ready to go pro, I'm going pro. And I don't think I'm ready."

He is, however, looking ready to dominate in 2010 even more than he has these past two seasons.

OREGON STATE WILL return a load of starters on defense, including the entire core d-line starting group in place the last third of the season -- Paea, DT Brennan Olander, DE Gabe Miller and DE Matt LaGrone.

OSU wasn't clicking up front defensively the first half of 2009. That changed with the emergence of Olander. His play on the inside meant teams could no longer double Paea without consequence.

And even when teams did double team Paea in the season's latter half, there were a number of occasions he just blew up the play anyway.

WATCHING PAEA THIS season steamroll his way into the backfield, watching him chase a QB on an extended sprint to the sidelines -- while gaining on him -- was like watching a future All-America defensive tackle coming into his own.

And first-team honors on three of the five major All-America teams in 2010 would make Paea a consensus choice.

Those five are: Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers of America, Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. The All-America teams are usually announced in early to mid December.

According to the OSU media guide, the last consensus All-America from Oregon State was center John Didion in 1968. WR Vern Burke captured consensus All-America honors in 1963, and QB Terry Baker in 1962 was both Heisman Trophy winner and consensus All-America.

The last two defensive tackles to gain All-America recognition were Craig Hanneman (1970) and Jess Lewis (1967). Hanneman was voted second team All-America by the Associated Press, while Lewis was a first team selection by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

BeaverBlitz Top Stories