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2017 Position Preview: Running Backs

Nall and Pierce lead the way

NCAA Football: Oregon at Oregon State Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Personnel

  • Marcus Greaves (SR)
  • Jaylynn Bailey (SR)
  • Ryan Nall (JR)
  • Kieran Yancy(JR)
  • Artavis Pierce (SO)
  • Jordan Pace (R-FR)
  • Hunter Mattson (R-FR)
  • Calvin Tyler Jr (FR)
  • BJ Baylor (FR)

Definitely/Could Be Gone

Tim Cook: The JUCO transfer Cook has exhausted his eligibility. He played sparingly while in Corvallis after battling with injury.

Paul Lucas: He was considered by many to be a steal on signing day 2015 after a last minute flip from Arizona State. The speedster played as a true freshman, but never really found a consistent role during his two seasons in orange and black, as he bounced between wide receiver and running back. He has transferred to Arizona State where he will be immediately eligible to compete in Track and Field.

New To The Mix

Calvin Tyler Jr and B.J. Baylor: The two freshman out of the state of Texas will arrive in Corvallis in the summer. Tyler and Baylor both committed to Oregon State late in the recruiting process following highly productive senior season at their respective high schools. While both are very talented and could be very important parts of the OSU offense in the future, I would expect them to redshirt their first year on campus.

Who Will Start?

Of all the positions on the team, there is no clearer answer of who the number one guy is than at running back. Ryan Nall, who is believed to have been sent from the future when people and robots create offspring that can achieve the combination of speed and strength that Nall possesses, will be at the top of the depth chart come fall. If he can stay healthy and the Beavs are successful enough to garner the slightest amount of national attention, I would expect Nall’s name to appear on some Heisman contender lists.

Artavis Pierce will continue to be the Beavers change of pace back. Pierce was an underrated piece of the Beaver offense last year as a true freshman showing a lot of speed and explosiveness out of the backfield. He should continue to get a lot of reps throughout the fall, and will be next in line to start if Nall needs to go to the shop for repairs.

What To Expect?

Early season growing pains with a new look offensive line

The O-Line, which will be previewed later this week, will be replacing three starters from last years group that paved they way for Nall and Pierce. While I am confident that coach Woods will put together a solid group, it may take a couple games for them to get in a groove.

Less emphasis on the run

Gary Andersen would like to balance out the offense by focus on stretching the field with the passing game. The coaching staff has been studying the Air Raid offense utilized by Cal and Washington State. If successful opposing defenses will no longer be able to stack the box, which should give more room for Nall and Pierce to work.

A whole lot more of this

2017 Oregon State Football Position Previews

Sunday (2/19): Quarterbacks
Monday (2/20): Running Backs
Tuesday (2/21): Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Wednesday (2/22): Offensive Line
Thursday (2/23): Defensive Line
Friday (2/24): Linebackers
Saturday (2/25): Defensive Backs

Sunday (2/26): Special Teams