Oregon State is going fast and furious trying to climb out of the cellar in Pac-12 recruiting and have added three commitments from Florida this week. I had the chance to break down senior film from all three. None of them are plug and play players, but all have some good tools to work with.
Jay Irvine - 3 star cornerback
Every big corner wants to be the next Richard Sherman and it appears Irvine isn't any different. Like Sherman, he has incredible length that is a huge asset for the position. Unlike Sherman, he does not yet know how to use that length when playing press man at the line. In fact, the couple of times he did get his hands on receivers that I saw he got flagged. He played a lot of off coverage for his high school, but if he wants to be a press corner like Sherman, he has a lot of technique work to do with the Oregon State coaches.
Where he does use that length well is breaking up passes. He plays the ball well in the air and also flashes some good ball skills if there are opportunities to pick off passes. He also displays an ability to plant and explode on the football. That combined with his kind of length are a great thing.
Like a lot of young players his age, he is undisciplined in his backpedal and that causes some rough transitions at times. He'll need to clean that up because he doesn't have outstanding long speed and little mistakes could burn him.
Irvine played a lot of safety as well for his high school and tackled really well in the open field. If he can't become that big, physical corner that I'm sure Gary Andersen is hoping he'll become, then a move to safety is not of the question.
Overall, he has some work to do to get ready to cover the kind of receivers he will face in the Pac-12, but he's got enticing physical tools if the coaching staff can develop him.
Keivonnis Davis - 3 star defensive end
The former Syracuse commit flashes a great first step and the kind of quickness that could make him a disruptive player off the edge. When I watch him play, I see a very good athlete that is going to be a lot better as he learns to become a better football player.
On most of the plays he made in high school, he is an unblocked man that is able to fire upfield unabated into the backfield. From that you can see his raw ability and great effort in pursuit, but when he is blocked, it's obvious he needs to improve in some major areas. The main thing is hand usage. He needs to control the blocker he is facing, but too often exposes his chest and then has to fight to disengage. When he does use his hands, it's a major difference in the way he is able to shed and get to the football. There are other little things like properly taking on a trap block and reading pressure from an offensive lineman that determines where the ball is going to go, but that is going to come from repetition once he gets to Oregon State.
Just like at the point of attack, Davis needs to use his hands better as a pass rusher. It's the same for just about every young pass rusher, but I did see some very nice potential from Davis off the edge. He flashed the ability to bend and if he can establish some pass rush moves, he could be potentially great in this area. I think he is the kind of player that should be able to convert speed to power and develop into a consistent pass rush threat as his career moves forward.
Taylor Thomas - 3 star running back
The one thing that is always going to stand out about Taylor Thomas, and not in a good way, is his size. 5'8" is not the worst thing for a running back, but that combined with 175 could be a bit of an issue. Not a lot of players can carry the ball a ton of times at that size.
In saying that, it's obvious the former Utah commit has talent. He has very good speed and tremendous lateral agility. That helps him as an inside runner making cuts and also allows him to make people miss in the open field. With his size, it's no surprise that he isn't breaking too many tackles, but he still shows good enough vision and feet to be a useful inside runner despite his stature.
If he gets room, he has the potential to break big runs and shows the speed to run away from people.
Thomas may never be built to be a workhorse in the Pac-12, but he should develop into a nice weapon for the Beavers.