#38: Shemar Smith - Outside Linebacker
What was once a weakness for Oregon State, depth at outside linebacker, may now become a strength. With so many linebackers going down with injuries a year ago, a bunch of freshmen got playing experience. Shemar Smith was one of those young guys who was expected to make an impact and got playing time early in the season, participating in the first five games and registering 3 tackles, before an injury forced him out the rest of the year.
Smith had quite the career coming out of Florida prior to joining OSU. He tallied 34 sacks in his final two years of high school football, so obviously he built a reputation as a “sack machine”. It was thought that he would liven up an anemic pass rush from the year before, but unfortunately his injury derailed his freshman season.
Prior to the 2016 season, Smith had enrolled early to OSU. So he was able to participate in spring ball before his freshman year. This gave him time to get into the playbook and add some muscle to his frame. He eventually made it onto the depth chart behind Titus Failauga (who has switched back to defensive end), and well, the injuries started piling up. He’s now had more time to add more strength (he’s up to 232 pounds from 210 when he was a high school senior) and settle into the defensive scheme.
Will 2017 be the year Smith breaks through? It could be if he takes the open outside linebacker spot opposite of Bright Ugwoegbu. He will have to battle the other names mentioned in this list at his position (Shemiah Unutoa-Whitson and Hamilcar Rashed Jr. so far), but if he can increase OSU’s chances of bringing down opposing quarterbacks, we will see him on the field a lot this year.
The List So Far:
#38: Shemar Smith - OLB
#40: David Morris - S/OLB
#41: Nick Porebski - P
#42: Omar Hicks-Onu - S
#43: Isaac Garcia - DE
#44: Andre Bodden- WR
#45: Trajon Cotton - S
#47: Kolby Taylor - WR
#50: Thor Katoa - DT/OLB