3 Players To Watch On Offense For OSU Beavers in 2023


It’s never too early to start looking ahead to college football. We already know some of the point spreads for Week Zero and Week One (Thanks, BetOnline).

READ: Pac-12 Plot Twist – Could Vegas Host Ducks vs Beavers For All The Marbles

Oregon State opens up on the road at San Jose State on Sun. Sept 3rd. The Beavers are 16.5-point favorites against former OSU assistant coach Brent Brennan and the Spartans.

That strikes me as a large point spread for a season-opener on the road for an Oregon State offense that still has some questions. San Jose State won 7 games a season ago and was excellent defensively against the rush, ranking 8th in the nation at yards given up per rush, and 27th in the nation in opponent points per game. They’ll also have a game under their belts already with a season-opening game at USC the week prior.

Week One will be a test for Oregon State. But who are some players that fans should keep an eye on?

I’m going to highlight three players on the Beavers offense that may be under the radar but fans should pay attention to against San Jose State and for the entire 2023 season.

This begins our 3 Players to Watch series that will continue over the next few weeks and be focusing on the offense and defense for both the Beavers and Ducks.

NOTE: The original list included wide receiver John Dunmore, who announced his decision to transfer after initial publication.

1) Jam Griffin | RB | Jr.

Griffin was a highly recruited player coming out of high school. According to 247 Sports, Griffin was the No. 15 rated running back in the 2019 class when he committed to Georgia Tech. Griffin played three years for the Yellow Jackets but never had a season with over 50 carries. Griffin hit the portal and landed in Corvallis where he was great in his first year with the Beavers to the tune of 86 carries, 488 yards, and 4 touchdowns last year. Damien Martinez gets much of the attention and rightfully so, but Griffin really showed what he could do against the best competition including 84 yards against USC and 75 yards against the Ducks.

At 5’9″ 210 lbs, Griffin is explosive and has a low center of gravity. The Beavers always want to run the ball a lot, putting Griffin in a good position to contribute as the second-string back.  Griffin is going to have some big games for the Beavers and if it’s like last season, those big games will be against the best competition.

2) Jack Velling | TE | Soph.

A three-star prospect out of Seattle, Velling wasn’t expected to make much of an impact last season as a true freshman. But after Luke Musgrave went down in game two at Fresno State, Velling capitalized and had a nice year, finishing with 16 catches, 281 yards, and 3 touchdowns. With Musgrave off to the NFL as a second-round pick to Green Bay, Velling is again in line to be the top tight end in OSU’s offense. The Beavers have a rich history of having productive tight ends and Velling (6’4″, 240 lbs) could be the next one up. He will certainly contribute as a strong blocker in the run game, but could also show his value in the passing game as a big, strong, fast target for new quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.

Note to Beav fan: Velling will wear No. 88 this year after wearing No. 84 last season. It’s good to get ahead of these things!

3) DJ Uiagalelei | QB | Jr.

What are the Beavers getting with the former 5-star recruit? DJ showed a ton of promise as a freshman at Clemson in the 2020 season when he filled in for future #1 overall draft pick, Trevor Lawerence. But that was followed up with a couple up and down seasons that ended with DJ getting benched for Cade Klubnik.

Uiagalelei has been vocal that Oregon State was a desired spot for him because of the culture and the offense run by head coach Jonathan Smith. Uiagalelei has said the right things and had some good moments in spring ball, though the battle to earn starting quarterback honors will continue into the fall.

Additionally, DJ could fill a void in OSU’s short-yardage rushing attack with Jack Colletto leaving for the NFL. The JackHammer was borderline unstoppable in his role last year and his absence would typically be difficult for a program like Oregon State to make up. Uiagalelei, though, is 6’4” and weighs 251 lbs, giving Smith and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren another great rushing option to supplement their impressive stable of running backs.

As long as Uiagalelei doesn’t try to do too much, he should be in line for a big season in Corvallis. The opening game on the road at San Jose State should prove to be a solid early test for the Junior transfer.


The Beavers have a win total of 8.5 wins according to BetOnline and are +800 to win the Pac 12.

You could say the Beavers snuck up on teams last season. That won’t be the case this year.

Look for our 3 Players to Watch series continuing over the next few weeks with a focus on the Oregon Ducks defense, followed by the Beavers defense and Ducks offense.