There are only 32 days from Oregon State’s season opening tilt with Oklahoma State now. We’re continuing our countdown of the 50 most important players for the Beavers in the 2019 season.
#30 - Isaiah Tufaga - Linebacker
As a true freshman in 2018, Tufaga was very impressive. He got his first start in the season opener at Ohio State, and grabbed five tackles in that game. He got two more starts last season, and finished with a total of 36 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for a loss.
There are a lot of newcomers with the Beavers linebackers unit, and that may hinder Tufaga’s ability to find the field this season. Nebraska transfer Avery Roberts is angling for a starting spot, and Beaver veteran Shermar Smith is probably the front runner for the other ILB position. Tufaga has definitely shown flashes of playmaking ability, and his experience with the team may give him a leg up over the transfers joining the team.
The set up is there for a big camp battle between Roberts and Tufaga, but in all likelihood both will see the field, giving the Beavers a strong rotation, especially against the run. If the defensive line improves as much as it has the potential to, Tufaga could end up spending a lot of time in opponents’ backfields.
48 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 1.0 sack, and 2 QB hurries.