With only 3 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 selection of Sean Harlow, today's pick goes to senior linebacker Caleb Saulo.
#3 Caleb Saulo - Inside Linebacker
Caleb Saulo is a 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker from Washington. He ran into minor legal trouble early on in his career at Oregon State but has bounced back in a major way. Now he leads a Beaver defense as one of only three senior starters. Saulo is the leading returning tackler, thanks to the transfer of Rommel Mageo (Ole Miss), and will team up with Manase Hungalu, Bright Ugewoebu, and Titus Failauga to form a surprisingly experienced and hopefully formidable linebacking core.
Saulo has all of the physical tools needed to be a dominant linebacker to go along with his good instincts. Saulo will look to improve a defense that ranked last in the Pac-12 in sacks, tackles for loss, and turnovers created. Last year's defense seemed to lose steam as the season progressed and they gave up almost 50 points a game over the last four weeks of the season.
If Saulo can help improve Oregon State's defense and put together a productive senior season he has a shot at hearing his name called in the 2017 draft. According to CBS sports, Caleb Saulo is ranked as the No. 43 ILB. And could shoot up draft boards with a big year.
Headed into the 2016 season there is a lot of optimism around the offense and their potential, but there seems to be one too many question marks surrounding the defense. Kevin Clune, the defensive coordinator, has done a nice job filling in for the departed Kalani Sitake, but will need to rely heavily on inexperienced players like freshman or junior college transfers.
Which means Caleb Saulo's value to this team cannot be understated enough. He is easily the most experienced defensive player for Oregon State. His experience and consistency will be crucial for the Beavers as they look to improve on last year's 2-10 campaign.
Our "Fall Camp Countdown" continues tomorrow with the #2 Most Valuable Player for the Beavers in 2016.
The List So Far:
#3: Caleb Saulo (ILB)
#4: Sean Harlow (LT)
#7: Ryan Nall (RB)
#10: Gavin Andrews (RG)
#11: Titus Failauga (OLB)
#12: Paul Lucas (R-Back)
#13: Baker Pritchard (DE)
#14: Bright Ugwoebu (LB)
#15: Noah Togiai (H-Back)
#16: Sumner Houston (NT)
#19: Seth Collins (WR)
#20: Dwayne Williams (CB)
#23: Manase Hungalu (LB)
#24: Elu Aydon (DT)