All players are equal, but some players are more equal than others. That's the basis of our "most important players" series.
There are a few rules you need to know:
1. Quarterbacks are ineligible.
2. "Most important" doesn't equal "best." (Note: Sometimes the most important player is the best player.) I think we can all agree that a season ago, players such as Mike Bercovici and Jerry Neuheisel proved how very important they were to their respective teams.
3. Even if they were the most important, they're quarterbacks and therefore ineligible (see rule No. 1). Keep up, guys.
Oregon State: OL Isaac Seumalo
2014 production: Uh, none, nada, zilch, zero.
Why Seumalo is important: We’re working on spec for this one -- as in speculating that Seumalo will in fact play this season after missing all of 2014 with a foot injury.
The word out of Corvallis was that he was probably good enough to participate in spring ball, at the very least do some “football related activities.” But the new coaching staff thought it best to keep him on ice. Not a bad call.
For those who don’t remember, Seumalo injured his foot in Oregon State’s 38-23 win over Boise State in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl (how long ago does that feel!?) at the end of an all-conference season. But after multiple surgeries, he still couldn’t return. Until now, maybe, we think.
Offensive line is actually one of the few places the Beavers don’t have question marks. With only two returning starters on defense, surely defensive back Larry Scott would be a strong candidate for MIP. Or perhaps wide receiver Victor Bolden or running back Storm Barrs-Woods. All strong candidates, and ample arguments could be made for them.
On the offensive line, however, the Beavers have five starters back, including senior Josh Mitchell, who seems entrenched at center -- Seumalo’s old position. However Seumalo, when healthy, is one of the top offensive linemen in the conference, and probably the country. He’s versatile enough to work all five spots and athletic enough to swap throughout the game if necessary. That’s a tremendous advantage for a new head coach trying to install a new system with a freshman quarterback (whichever way Gary Andersen goes).
How much is Seumalo respected? Enough that he’s landed on the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award watch lists despite missing an entire season.
We admit we’re going out on a limb here. He might never be back to 100 percent. He might not be a good fit for Andersen’s offense (though I highly doubt that). He might take one hit, feel his foot tweak and decide this isn’t for him. However, if he is 100 percent, he is Oregon State’s best player and an invaluable asset as the Beavers start the Andersen era.