Oregon State's weight room warriors

July, 1, 2009
7/01/09
5:55
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Some weight room warriors are born. Others are made.

Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea is 298-pound freak of nature. He has only been lifting weights for three or four years -- about as long as the native of Tonga has been playing football. He estimated his max bench press this week was "525 or 530 pounds." He also squats 720 pounds.

Paea might be the nation's strongest college football player.

Beavers offensive guard Gregg Peat observed what most folks around the Pac-10 already know: Paea is about ready for his national close-up.

"He's pretty incredible," Peat said.

As for Peat, he arrived at Oregon State in 2005 as an unheralded recruit, the Beavers the only Pac-10 team to offer him a scholarship. He bench pressed about 225 pounds. According to Peat, "I was a soft 285 pounds."

Peat is now a solid 295 pounds, a team co-captain and is slated to start at guard for the second consecutive season.

Paea was born to lift weights. "He's a freak," Peat said.

Peat used weights to reinvent himself physically. "He's a guy I see working hard," Paea said. "He sets a great example for other players."

Peat now bench presses 350 pounds, squats 450 and -- most impressive -- power cleans 330. He has also dramatically increased his speed, quickness, agility and flexibility.

Oregon State almost never signs a highly rated recruiting class. Nonetheless, it has finished ranked in the top-25 three consecutive seasons.

I wonder if what happens inside the $16 million Sports Performance Center has anything to do with the unheralded Point A transforming into the nationally ranked Point B?

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