2017 is upon us. It's finally here. In a few short hours Oregon State will begin their season against a tough opponent in Colorado State, but this post isn't about game predictions or Gary Andersen's record in season openers (3-5 at the FBS level) or which uniforms the Beavers will wear (I kind of like the white uniforms).
This post is about numbers.
See, I like some statistics in my sports. I like the way they allow us to argue about players that never played on the field together. The running backs that might have reached number one in yards gained had they stayed for their senior years (Jaquizz Rodgers, Steven Jackson). The unheralded walk-on that left as the career receptions and yards leader (and Mike Haas still holds the OSU record for receiving yards). The grinders that work their way into the all-time ranks by the time their careers end.
This season, there are two Beavers that should finish 2017 within the all-time top ten at their respective positions in Oregon State record books: Ryan Nall and Jordan Villamin.
Ryan Nall, RB - Like every other Oregon State fan, I was captivated by the 2016 emergence of Ryan Nall as the primary Beaver back. In 2016, he nearly reached 1,000 yards and displayed the power to run through defenders as well as the agility to run around them. His current total of 1,406 career rushing yards puts him 541 yards shy of Sam Baker in tenth place in the all-time OSU record book, while his 16 career touchdowns place him only four away from Dick Twenge and Dave Schilling in ninth place.
If Nall rumbles for an improbable—yet possible for him—1,268 yards in 2017, he would sit in fifth place all-time as a Beaver with 2018's senior season still ahead of him. If he can manage 10 touchdowns, Nall would sit in fifth place in that OSU career record as well.
Jordan Villamin, WR - Also like every other Oregon State fan, I was frustrated at the 2016 that Jordan Villamin had, if only because the previous two seasons showed us the potential that the big receiver possesses. After his 2014 season (35 catches, 578 yards, 6 touchdowns) and 2015 season (43 catches, 660 yards, 5 touchdowns), Beaver fans expected more of the same in 2016 from the 6'5" receiver (that's Calvin Johnson height, y'all!). Instead, we witnessed Villamin struggle with holding onto the ball as he tallied only 21 catches for 253 yards and a single touchdown in 2016.
Villamin has an NFL body, and this season is the senior's last shot to prove that he should be playing at the next level. His career totals of 1,491 receiving yards and 99 catches place him 354 yards shy of Roddy Tompkins at number ten all-time in OSU receiving yards and 50 catches short of Reggie Bynum at number ten all-time in OSU receptions.
2017 Record Tracker (career totals)
- Ryan Nall - 1,406 rushing yards (#10 Sam Baker - 1,947 rushing yards)
- Ryan Nall - 16 rushing touchdowns (#9T Dick Twenge & Dave Schilling - 20 rushing touchdowns)
- Jordan Villamin - 99 receptions (#10 Reggie Bynum - 149 receptions)
- Jordan Villamin - 1,491 receiving yards (#10 Roddy Tompkins - 1,845 receiving yards)
- Jordan Villamin - 12 receiving touchdowns (#10 Sammy Stroughter - 14 receiving touchdowns)
Author's Note: Each week in 2017, I'm going to look at the players that are within reach of the all-time ranks in Beaver history, as well as any surprise efforts that might land among the single-game or single-season records. Stay tuned as 2017 progresses, and we'll track where Nall and Villamin—as well as any other Beaver athletes that emerge as record-setters—end up by season's end.