With only 17 days left until Oregon State starts fall camp, we continue our countdown of the 25 most valuable football players. To follow-up from yesterday's preview of Phillip Napoleon, today's selection goes to Kalani Vakameilalo.
#17: Kalani Vakameilalo - Defensive Tackle
Kalani Vakameilalo is a 6-foot-3, 310-pound sophomore from Hawaii. The former three-star recruit was considered the top prospect out of Hawaii and chose Oregon State over offers from Washington State, Kansas, Pitt and others.
Interestingly enough, Kalani Vakameilalo did not start playing football until high school. Because of his lack of competitive football experience he was viewed as Oregon State's most underrated recruit by bleacher report. Vakameilalo also has rich football bloodlines; he has two cousins playing in the NFL, Haloti Ngata (Detroit) and Paul Fanaika (Kansas City).
Last year as a redshirt freshman, Vakameilalo received some meaningful snaps for Oregon State's defensive line and recorded 10 tackles and 2 sacks. And is currently listed as the starting defensive tackle heading into fall camp.
Gary Andersen has taken over coaching the defensive line this year and has put a big emphasis on winning the battle of the trenches. To often last year's defensive line was pushed around and beaten at the point of attack. Opposing quarterbacks had to much time and picked apart Oregon State's secondary. Opposing running backs also found running lanes far too easily.
Kalani Vakameilalo has great size and is excellent against the run. But he also possesses nice mobility for a defensive lineman and has a knack for breaking through the offensive line and making plays in the backfield. Oregon State is looking to replace recently graduated players like Kyle Peko, Jalen Grimble, and Lavonte Barnett from last years defensive line and will need Kalani Vakameilalo and others to fill the void left behind.
Check out Kalani Vakameilalo's high school highlights:
Our "Fall Camp Countdown" continues tomorrow with the #17 Most Valuable Player for the Beavers in 2016.
The List So Far:
#17: Kalani Vakameilalo (DT)
#19: Seth Collins (WR)
#20: Dwayne Williams (CB)
#23: Manase Hungalu (LB)
#24: Elu Aydon (DT)
#25: Nick Porebski (P) / Garrett Owens (K)