#9 Surprise Newcomers
Full disclosure, when BTD compiled this list a couple months ago we reserved this spot for Marcus McMaryion who lost the starting job and decided to transfer to Fresno State. While we expected Jake Luton to win the starting job, we thought Marcus McMaryion would be the first man off the bench in case of injury or offensive struggles. Unfortunately, things change fast in college football and we wish the best for McMaryion as he looks to grab the starting job with his hometown Bulldogs.
Instead of trying to shuffle the list last minute, we’ve decided to use this spot to highlight the surprise newcomers that have joined the football team this off-season. We won’t be highlighting David Morris/Isaiah Hodgins or Jake Luton, because their contributions were mostly expected and landed them on our countdown list; instead we will highlight five new faces that have impressed the coaching staff and forced their way into seeing some playing time this season.
The true freshman running back was a nice recruiting pick-up by Oregon State in the 2017 class, but found himself behind four proven commodities at running back: Ryan Nall, Thomas Tyner, Artavis Pierce and Trevorris Johnson. Most assumed that the true freshman would take a year to redshirt and learn the college game and that he might be a year or two away from really contributing. Calvin Tyler had different ideas though and wowed the Oregon State coaching staff from day one.
Gary Andersen raved about Tyler, telling Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune “At this early point in his career, Calvin is the best true freshman running back I've ever been around. He has so many things you can't coach, including the innate ability to have vision, see those six-inch creases and take on the angles.”
Gary Andersen has already stated that Calvin Tyler will not redshirt as a freshman, but it’s going to be next to impossible to give five running backs ample carries and touches. Calvin Tyler is too good to stay off the field though; he gives the Beavers a different look at running back with his shiftiness and I expect him to handle a lot of the kick/punt return duties as a true freshman.
Another huge true freshman surprise has been the linebacker from Hawaii. Kesi Ah-hoy was one of the last additions to the 2017 recruiting class. He originally committed to Hawaii, but flipped to Oregon State on national signing day and wasn’t as highly heralded as other Oregon State recruits.
Kesi has exceeded everyone’s expectations in fall camp though. Gary Andersen commented on the freshman’s playing time chances and said “Kesi's going to play. Kesi has proven himself to be ready to go and be in that rotation at the linebacker position.”
The true freshman has an outside shot at winning the starting linebacker position next to Manase Hungalu. Although, Andrzej Hughes-Murray and Doug Taumoelau will likely end up above him on the depth chart, but the fact remains that Kesi Ah-hoy will get playing time and has proven to be very effective as an inside linebacker.
The last of the true freshman surprises is Isaiah Dunn. I have very high hopes for Dunn, as he hasn’t been phased by the increase in talent at the next level. Coaches have been most impressed with his physicality and natural instincts. Meanwhile, his main playing time competition, Jay Irvine, is considered a freak athlete and will most likely start opposite of Isaiah Crawford and slide Dwayne Williams to the slot, but Dunn has been pushing him for playing time all summer. An injury sidelined Isaiah Dunn the last week or so, but I fully expect him to compete for playing time and be part of the corner back rotation throughout the season.
The Beavers added Kel’il Montibon from Riverside Community College extremely late in the recruiting process. Gary Andersen likes to leave one or two scholarships open in order to add hidden gems and Montibon fit the bill to a tee. Beaver fans didn’t expect Montibon to contribute right away and figured he would redshirt as he has four years left to play three; especially considering he didn’t step foot on campus until the end of July.
Montibon is very athletic and extremely hard-working though. He’s on the lighter-side at 273-pounds, but has made a name for himself during fall camp. Montibon has been pushing for playing time at right tackle and is likely to be a contributor if the Beavers struggle or endure injuries.
The graduate transfer from South Florida is in contention to start at safety next to Brandon Arnold. Austin Hudson has two years of eligibility left as he pursues a graduate degree and is competing with David Morris and Jalen Moore for the final safety spot. If Hudson does not earn a starting position he should still contribute heavily and would be a play-maker on special teams.
The Beavers have been experimenting with playing three safeties in recent weeks and the coaching staff recently said that David Morris will see a lot of playing time even if he’s not named a starter. If there are no injuries in the secondary (unlikely) than Hudson’s greatest asset will be his experience on special teams. Hudson was with Gary Andersen at Wisconsin before transferring to South Florida and was a solid contributor on special teams.