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Oregon State Football: Most Valuable Player Countdown - #28 Shemar Smith

The linebacker is ready for a breakout year in 2018

NCAA Football: Colorado at Oregon State Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The college football season is just over one month away! With the off-season quickly coming to an end, Building the Dam is unveiling their top 30 most valuable football players for the 2018 season. We’ll countdown by previewing one player at a time until it’s almost time for some Beaver football.

#28: Shemar Smith - Linebacker

Shemar Smith is a 6-foot-1, 228 lbs outside linebacker for the Beavers. The junior enters 2018 with a total of 15 games played in his career (three starts). He’s racked up 17 tackles, including three for a loss and added a quarterback hurry.

Coming out of high school Smith had built the reputation of being a “sack machine” with 34 sacks combined in his final two seasons. He wasn’t expected to compete for immediate playing time, but saw action as an underclassmen due to a rash of injuries. Oregon State’s defense is in desperate need of pass rushers and the coaching staff is hoping Shemar Smith can be a big piece of the puzzle.

The Beavers are hoping to replace some key pieces from last season’s linebacking core: Manase Hungalu (graduation), Bright Ugwoegbu (supplemental draft) and Kesi Ah-Hoy (medical retirement). Shemar Smith will be competing with returning outside linebackers Kee Whetzel, Hamilcar Rashed Jr and Adam Soesman for playing time.

Will 2018 be the year Smith and the rest of the linebackers break through? It could be if he takes one of the open outside linebacker spots. The Beavers defensive line is going to be a work in progress and a better than expected linebacking core could help the Beavers get the Jonathan Smith era started on the right foot.

The list so far:

#28: Shemar Smith - LB

#29: Shawn Wilson - CB

#30: Yanni Demogerontas - OL

Our countdown continues tomorrow with the 27th Most Valuable Player for the Beavers in 2018.