#21: Artavis Pierce - RB
Sophomore RB Artavis Pierce had a major impact during his true-freshman season for Oregon State. The talented speedster from Lake Alfred, Florida was one of 2016’s pleasant surprises, who rushed for 523 yards on only 98 carries, including 4 touchdowns. Overall, he averaged a stunning 5.3 yards per carry. In addition, Pierce also displayed some tremendous receiving skill as well. He had 21 receptions last season for 132 yards and 1 receiving touchdown, as a second option out of the backfield behind Ryan Nall.
Along the way, Pierce was able to become Oregon State’s No. 2 RB. He started one game in 2016 against UCLA en route to being selected to Athlon’s Pac-12 All-Freshman First Team. Many in Beaver Nation fondly remember Artavis’s amazing game against in-state rival Oregon, where Pierce rushed for an extraordinary 72 yds. on only 7 carries. He averaged 10.3 yds. per carry against the Ducks! Pierce has an extremely bright future ahead of him for the Beavers.
Artavis Pierce has great quickness. He ran a 4.43 coming out of Auburndale High School. AP also demonstrates tremendous strength. Pierce displayed a strong ability to hit the hole hard in 2016. Word around campus is that AP gained muscle mass from his Freshman season. It was impressive watching Pierce push piles against Utah and against the Ducks for first downs. In addition, AP has excellent vision on the field, which allows him to see where holes develop. Check out AP’s famous run where he and the Oregon State Offensive Line Push the Utah Defense for 22 yds. (Note: The play is 1 minute into the video.)
2017 should be an interesting year for AP. It is expected for Artavis to make significant growth from his Freshman season. However, the Beaver backfield is more crowded this season than in 2016. Not only does Pierce share the RB spot with stud RB Ryan Nall, he will also be sharing it with former 5-Star RB Thomas Tyner and TCU graduate transfer Trevorris Johnson who recently joined the Beavers. The RB position is very deep for the Beavers in 2017, which is essential for the brutal schedule the Pac-12 offers year after year. Pierce could redshirt this season, but much like Tyner, Nall, and Johnson, Pierce is just too talented to keep off the field. Pierce was a major underdog going into the 2016 season, yet he established himself as a solid #2 RB. Will he follow the same script in 2017?