Pac-12: Mitchel Hunt
First there was this -- sure you've followed the exploits of the naked lineman -- now there's the announcement that the careers of reserve defensive linemen Tonu Tuimalealiifano and Mitchel Hunt are over due to injury.
Both have knee issues. Both were listed third on the preseason depth chart at their position -- end for Hunt and tackle for Tuimalealiifano.
Said coach Mike Riley to The Oregonian: “I never like to lose numbers. It always hurts. There’s no spinning any of that. How much it really affects us, I can’t say right now. That’s probably some part of the story that will be told down the road. Whether it’s this season, or even next year. Because Tonu would have still been eligible and Mitch might have impacted this season in ways I couldn’t have even foreseen.’’
The Beavers started spring practices Monday.
LaGrone, a former Nevada basketball player, started four of Oregon State's final five games in 2009 and was listed No. 1 on the spring depth chart ahead of sophomore Taylor Henry, redshirt freshman John Braun and injured senior Mitchel Hunt.
According to The Oregonian, LaGrone was struggling with being separated from his family -- a wife and two daughters -- who live in Reno.
LaGrone is the second projected starter to leave the team. Middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi also left the Beavers to reportedly join the military. The Beavers also lost receiver Casey Kjos (injuries). Linebacker Keith Pankey will miss spring with a torn Achilles.
"It does (hurt the team), because [LaGrone] had made a lot of progress and played a lot,'' Beavers coach Mike Riley told The Oregonian. "I think we've got good depth. We've got young guys coming up who I think will be good players but it's a tough loss. ... it's just like Pa'aluhi. You've got a guy almost at the stage to get his best performance, and then he's gone.
Riley and his coaches have moved some guys around on the Beavers' depth chart. And the quarterback battle between Ryan Katz and Peter Lalich is a competition, not a coronation for Katz, Riley said.
- Kevin Frahm will move inside from defensive end to tackle. Frahm is more a powerful, high-energy guy than an edge rusher, so the move makes sense. Of course, Frahm, a 6-foot-2, 267-pound junior, will be undersized. But, playing next to Stephen Paea, he can expect some one-on-one battles that he can win with quickness. Frahm starts off behind Brennan Olander.
- The best news coming from Riley was optimism that linebacker Keith Pankey, who will sit out spring after surgery on his Achilles' tendon, will be recovered in time to play next fall.
- The battle at middle linebacker to replace David Pa'aluhi, who left the team for personal reasons, will feature Tony Wilson, Rueben Robinson, Kevin Unga and Walker Vave.
- Jordan Poyer has moved from safety to cornerback, where he's listed behind James Dockery.
- Sophomore Markus Wheaton and Darrell Catchings are competing for the starting job at split end. Looking at the receiver depth chart, the Beavers look strong at the position, with plenty of experience and talent, topped, of course, by James Rodgers.
- The Beavers need to replace Gregg Peat at right guard. The depth chart features Burke Ellis, Colin Kelly and Colin Lyons.
- A couple of guys to watch on the O-line are Timi Oshinowo and Wilder McAndrews, who are No. 2 and 3 at left tackle behind true sophomore Michael Philip. Both likely would have been starters last year, if healthy. Oshinowo is coming back from a knee injury, while McAndrews' status is decidedly iffy due a wrist problem that has limited him to three games over the past two seasons.
- In addition to Pankey, five players will sit out spring while recovering from injuries, including starting guard Grant Johnson (shoulder). The others are: cornerback Sean Martin and defensive end Mana Rosa (both shoulder) and defensive lineman Mitchel Hunt and offensive lineman Rory Ross (both knees).
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
The 2006 recruiting class members are either seniors or redshirt juniors this fall, so they should be the backbones of most Pac-10 team's starting lineups.
Therefore, it seems like a reasonable moment to look back and review some recruiting hits and misses.
In the big picture, USC ranked No. 2 in the nation, according to ESPN.com's Scouts Inc., behind No. 1 Florida (sorta makes sense, eh?). UCLA, at No. 19, was the only other Pac-10 team in the Scouts Inc., top-25.
Scout.com ranked USC No. 1 in the nation, Arizona 19th, UCLA 20th and California 23rd. The rest of the Pac-10 went, in order, Arizona State (32nd in nation), Washington (35th), Stanford (38), Oregon State (41), Washington State (45) and Oregon (52).
Oregon last? Hmm.
Anyway... here's an overview
How many are expected to start in 2009: Nine (CB Devin Ross, DT Earl Mitchell, FS Cam Nelson, WR Terrell Turner, DE Brooks Reed, DE Ricky Elmore, WR Delashaun Dean, OG Conan Amituanai, C Colin Baxter)
Misses: QB Tyler Lyon, RB Derke Robinson
Verdict: This is an underrated class -- even guys who aren't listed as starters are projected to contribute in 2009. It's also notable that the few who didn't pan out -- or were problems, such as DE Louis Holmes -- were the big names.
Misses: DE Jermaine Williams, RB Rodney Glass
Verdict: A solid class when you consider that nine of the 24 signees were JC players who have already moved on -- a group that included RB Ryan Torain and S Troy Nolan, who were the class's most elite performers.
How many are expected to start in 2009: Six (CB Darian Hagan, DT Derrick Hill, QB Kevin Riley, C Chris Guarnero, DE Tyson Alualu, LB Mike Mohamed)
Verdict: Ratings, smatings. Montgomery, Slocum and Prueitt were highly rated, Alualu and Mohamed barely registered. Overall, a solid class.
How many are expected to start in 2009: Five (C Jordan Holmes, LT Bo Thran, RT C.E. Kaiser, DT Brandon Bair, LB Spenser Paysinger)
Verdict: Decidedly mixed. One thing is for sure: This class bolstered the Ducks offensive line. Also interesting, Bair and Paysinger transitioned to their current positions from tight end and receiver, respectively.