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2017 Position Preview: Linebackers

Manase Hungalu and Bright Ugwoegbu lead the way.

NCAA Football: Utah at Oregon State Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

The Personnel

  • Manase Hungalu - SR
  • Wesley Payne - SR
  • Bright Ugwoegbu - JR
  • Adam Soesman - JR
  • Jonathan Willis - JR
  • Andrzej Hughes-Murray - SO
  • Joah Robinett - SO
  • Hamilcar Rashed - SO
  • Shemiah Unutoa-Whitson - SO
  • Hamilton Hunt - SO
  • Ricky Liuchan - SO
  • Luke Leonnig - FR
  • Doug Taumoelau - FR
  • Kee Whetzel - FR

Definitely/Could Be Gone

Caleb Saulo: The Beavers will sorely miss Saulo, as he’s exhausted his eligibility. The linebacker tallied 95 tackles as a senior and was the leader of the front seven. Oregon State will need to replace his steady consistency and quiet leadership.

Kyle Haley: The former senior has also exhausted his eligibility. Haley was a key reserve and excellent special teams player throughout his career.

New To The Mix

The Beavers didn’t sign any linebackers this offseason, but keep an eye out for incoming freshman, David Morris. He’s starting his college career at safety, but is physical and athletic enough to play linebacker if needs be.

Who Will Start?

Injuries will largely determine who the opening day starters are. Last season, the linebacking core was bit by the injury bug, which forced freshman into action. Expect Manase Hungalu and Bright Ugwoegbu to lead the way. Those two players will be impact players in 2017. After those two look for Andrzej Hughes-Murray, Shemiah Unutoa-Whitson, Adam Soesman, Jonathan Willis and Joah Robinett all to see playing time.

What To Expect?

While last seasons injuries were devastating it did allow a number of underclassmen to receive invaluable playing time. Despite losing Caleb Saulo this group should improve. If the linebackers can stay healthy, this group will be deep and talented. Look for the Beavers front seven to show massive improvement in 2017.

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