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Oregon State Football: Most Valuable Player Countdown - #18 Sumner Houston

The junior makes the switch from defense to offense in 2017.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

A 6’2”, 296 pounder from Dublin, California, Sumner Houston spent the first half of his college career as a nose tackle on the Beaver defense. In 24 games at that spot, he accumulated 34 tackles. After the massive loss of depth along the offensive line in the off-season, the coaching staff made the executive decision to bump Houston to center in hopes of compensating. As luck would have it, Houston seems to be thriving in the role.

He’ll replace Gavin Andrews, now in the NFL, and compete with Yanni Demogerontas for the number one job. Since making the switch, however, Houston has taken the majority of the first team snaps at center. The ability he showed in spring practice was even enough to land him on the Rimington Trophy watch list. That award is given to the top center in college football. Incredibly, Houston may even be the only sure thing for this offensive line right now in terms of knowing exactly where they’ll play. The rest of OSU’s line have shifted around quite a bit over the last few weeks and I’d expect it to continue to do so even into this early part of the season.

While obviously playing in practice it’s much different than it will be come August 26th, Beaver fans can have a certain amount of confidence in Houston for one big reason: his brain. A large portion of playing center successfully boils down to being able to make quick reads of the defense and making calls and switches that, in most offenses, dictate how the rest of line blocks the play. Houston has been a Pac-12 All-Academic selection each of the past two seasons, so it’s fair to say he has the mental capacity to excel as a center.

He’s even been working out and taking snaps with his brother Bart, a quarterback at Wisconsin, in order to get the finer points of the position down.

It’s a hard position to learn, but most signs seem to point to Houston bearing a big part of the load for a very fresh face offense that includes transfer QB Jake Luton at the helm. Combine his intellect with his strength (390 pound max bench press) and his raw athletic ability, and we’ve got one of the more intriguing players in the Pac-12 this season in Sumner Houston.

The List So Far:

#18: Sumner Houston - Center

#19: Baker Pritchard - DE

#20: Kammy Delp - OG

#21: Artavis Pierce - RB

#22: Phillip Napoleon - DE

#23: Brandon Arnold - S

#24: Jay Irvine - CB

#25: Isaiah Hodgins - WR

#26: Christian Wallace - CB

#27: Trent Moore - OL

#28: Titus Failuaga - DE

#29: Dwayne Williams - CB

#30: Paisa Savea - DT

#31: Craig Evans - DT

#32: Jalen Moore - S

#33: Justin Sattelmaier - OL

#34: Trevon Bradford - WR

#35: Jonathan Willis - ILB

#36: Tuli Wily-Matagi - TE

#37: Doug Taumoelau - ILB

#38: Shemar Smith - OLB

#39: Hamilcar Rashed Jr. - 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

#46: Shemiah Unutoa-Whitson - OLB

#47: Kolby Taylor - WR

#48: Darell Garretson - QB

#49: Jordan Choukair & Adley Rutschman - K

#50: Thor Katoa - DT/OLB