So we have reached the halfway point in the OSU football season and while things are tough there are some good things going for this team. This brings up the idea of which player currently means the most to the Beaver football team. Several players could have an argument made for them, but I am going to list my top five in no particular order.
- Markus Wheaton: He is the top offensive weapon for Oregon State with a grand total of 46 catches for 548 yards and 10 rushes for 39 yards as well. The main problem with his stats is his lack of touchdowns, but the team as a whole is more to blame than Wheaton. He has exceptional speed, good hands and does just about everything for the Beavs on the offensive end and is far and away the most explosive player on the team. His value is obviously extremely high to the team as no one else even approaches his production on the field, Jordan Bishop has 21 receptions and 296 yards, and he is the closest to matching Wheaton's production. His personal accolades will be somewhat lost in the current void of success for the team, but he was still recognized as Second Team All Pac-12 according to Phil Steele, so he still garners some media recognition.
- James Rodgers: This is a list for most valuable, it is not strictly based on stats. Rodgers' value cannot be measured in the tangible measurements as he is one of the true leaders of the team, but his value was shown last year in his absence when the season got derailed with his knee injury. He may not be completely back to where he was at physically, but if anybody can recover it is James Rodgers. That is where he truly shines, very few individuals could recover from that level of injury so quickly and hopefully even when James Rodgers moves on, the remaining team members can remember his otherworldly work ethic.
Scott Crichton: Here's an example of stats prevailing however. This kid is an animal, and certainly approaches being most valuable or even the most talented player on the team. As a redshirt freshman he has racked up 35 tackles, 8 for a loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He is being recognized by the media as well, being listed as 1st Team All Pac-12 by Phil Steele. He is helping to form a defensive line to be reckoned with for the next couple of years, with Dylan Wynn opposite of him, hopefully Fred Thompson will grow into a dominating DT, and depending on which line Isaac Seumalo plays on, the Beaver defensive line could become a strength of the team, led by the aforementioned Crichton.
More candidates after the jump.
- Jordan Poyer: This guy, above breaking up a pass in the BYU game, has become the new all-purpose star for Oregon State, he has the ability to play just about anywhere on the field, but is starting to come into his own as a cornerback. It seems like a difficult position to learn, it seems to be a position that is primarily based off of instincts, but he has really grown into the role. He has grown to the point of being named 1st Team All-Pac-12 according to Phil Steele. To help back up some of this talk are his 3 interceptions on the year, good enough to tie for 1st in the Pac-12, including a big one for a TD last week against BYU to help the Beavs stay in the game. This is only a slim part of his value to OSU though, he is also the best return man for the Beavers. He has a punt return for a TD and an average return of 17.5 yards and is also a dynamic kick returner. When watching a Beaver football game you can always see Poyer making a big play at some point and has certainly earned consideration for midseason MVP.
- Feti Unga: Although his brother may have left the team, Feti Unga has stepped up in the middle of the OSU defense to the tune of 45 tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss and 1 sack. He has been one of the most consistent players for OSU and has also garnered some media praise. While Unga might not wow you with amazing plays every week he has been a steady presence so far this year. He did get dinged up last week, but hopefully he will be back so he can keep filling the middle for the OSU defense.
My pick: Jordan Poyer. He does so much for this team in more than one phase of the game and really has a knack for the big play. Without Poyer, this team is in even more trouble than they currently are. Of course, arguments could be made for other players, for instance a vocal leader like Kevin Frahm, or someone could say Sean Mannion if one were so inclined, but I believe that Poyer's impact is much more felt than anyone else on this current OSU team. Just a reminder that even while times are tough there are some things to help make watching this year of Beaver football a little more manageable.