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2017 Position Preview: Defensive Line

The Beavers return a big physical group.

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

The Personnel

  • Phillip Napoleon - SR
  • Baker Pritchard - SR
  • Titus Failauga - SR
  • Paisa Savea - SR
  • Kalani Vakameilalo - JR
  • Craig Evans - JR
  • LaMone Williams - JR
  • Elu Aydon - SO
  • Thor Katoa - SO
  • Reed Woodward - SO
  • Chris Mengis - SO
  • Isaac Garcia - FR
  • Kenny Turnier - FR
  • Josh Bowcut - FR

Definitely/Could Be Gone

Noke Tago: The 300-pound defensive lineman from American Samoa has exhausted his eligibility. Tago played sparingly during his career in Corvallis, but recovered admirably from a 2014 ACL tear.

Sumner Houston: The former defensive lineman has switch over to the offensive side of the ball. Houston will fight for the starting center position this offseason.

Josh Bowcut: The freshman from Sherwood will serve a two-year church service mission before he plays for the Beavers.

New To The Mix

Craig Evans: Evans was one of the top junior college defensive lineman and committed to Oregon State over a host of other schools. The former Michigan State player has had an unconventional journey since graduating high school, but should become an immediate impact player for the Beavs. Look for Evans to fight for a starting position and significantly boost the defensive line.

Titus Failauga: Titus returns to his natural defensive end position after being an outside linebacker last season.

Who Will Start?

The defensive line is one of the most interchangeable position groups for the Beavers. Regardless of who starts look for Elu Aydon, Kalani Vakameilalo, Craig Evans, Baker Pritchard, Phillip Napoleon and Titus Failauga all to make significant contributions. Elu Aydon, Baker Pritchard and Kalani Vakameilalo will probably be listed first when the 2017 depth chart is released, but they will rotate the defensive line often to keep them fresh.

What To Expect?

The Beavers return almost every contributor on the defensive line from last season’s team. They are big and physical and gained valuable experience in 2016 as a unit. Look for the Beavers defensive line to be much improved in 2017. This should (hopefully) lead to an increase in sacks and an improved run defense overall.

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