The 2018 Oregon State Beavers are looking to have a strong season. At least stronger than last season which shouldn’t be too difficult. They’re looking to turn around from a 1-11 record last season. There are multiple players who will help the team turn around from their dismal 2017. Isaiah Hodgins, Noah Togiai, Jonathan Willis, Blake Brandel and David Morris are going to be the players that need to step up the most this season in order for the Beavers to have the season that can make some noise in the Pac-12 conference. These four players are also having an audition to show NFL scouts what they’re capable of.
Isaiah Hodgins – SO (WR / 6’4″ / 208 lbs)
Isaiah Hodgins has plenty of eyes on him this upcoming season. Hodgins played in 11 games in 2017 while making only six starts. His freshman numbers at Oregon State were 31 receptions with 275 yards and 2 touchdowns. This season he looks to put up numbers that he is capable of with a 6’4 208 lb frame.
Last year he was also fighting a shoulder injury that played heavily into his performance. Another season adjusting from the high school game to college will also benefit Hodgins. Coming out of high school he was listed at 195 lbs, so in two seasons he has gained about 10 lbs of muscle. With a body fit for the NFL, it is time for Hodgins to cash it in on the field and put it all together.
Noah Togiai – RS JR (TE / 6’4″/ 241 lbs)
Noah Togiai should provide plenty of help for Oregon State in both the running and passing game this season. Coming off of a season that got him Associated Press All-Pac-12 Second Team. Togiai had 34 receptions, 461 yards, and 2 touchdowns in 2017.
With the quarterback situation not fully figured out, Togiai should be a security blanket in the middle of the field to whoever is under center. The spread offense will allow him to play the “Y” slot position lining him up in the slot and also with his hand in the dirt next to the tackle when asked.
Jonathan Willis – SR (LB / 6’1″ / 225 lbs)
Willis is a veteran in the locker room and on the field for the Beavers. He has played in 36 games while starting in 18 of them. In those 36 games, he has recorded 161 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Establishing dominance in the middle is important for any defense in order to thrive.
Willis is projected to play inside linebacker which he switched to after arriving on campus as an outside linebacker. He has shown plenty of versatility on the defensive side and has shown he can make tackles which is what you want out of your Mike linebacker.
Blake Brandel – RS JR (OT / 6’7″ / 305 lbs)
Brandel is a big man and starting every single game he has played in proves he has the durability and skill level to be successful on the offensive line. Brandel has experience at both tackle positions and projects to be the starting right tackle for 2018.
Brandel has the potential to be a true stud and his ceiling is fairly high in terms of his development. Teams are always looking for big bodied tackles to protect their franchise quarterbacks so there could be a few teams coveting his talents.
David Morris – SO (S / 6’3″ / 213 lbs)
What you’re getting with David Morris is a ball-hawking safety. Morris broke his foot during the offseason but assuming he comes back fully healthy, he will be a top contributor to the Oregon State defense. His stats alone speak for themselves when you talk about what kind of player he is.
In 11 games played he recorded 75 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. At the safety position, 75 tackles and 16 tackles for loss show that he has an aggressiveness to his game that is rare among his position. If Morris can improve his coverage skills, it could help the Beavers improve on their interceptions totals from a year ago.
He has the measurables for an NFL safety and if he can prove he can stay healthy, some NFL ball clubs could be interested in his services. Like his offensive teammate Brandel, he would benefit from staying another year.