|Brennen Beyer (#97)|
Weight: 254 lbs.
High school: Plymouth (MI) Plymouth
Jersey number: #97
Last year: I ranked Beyer #24 and said he would be the starting weakside end. He started eight games and had 19 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble.
Beyer moved from SAM linebacker in 2011 to weakside end in 2012, where he started the majority of the season after Frank Clark checked into the doghouse. After a freshman season that saw him make 11 tackles, Beyer upped that production to 19 tackles in 2012. Unfortunately, very few of those plays happened in the backfield and he was not much of a threat to rush the passer. In essence, he was a very mediocre player at a position that should produce some big plays. Clark and then freshman Mario Ojemudia were the ones who made those big plays, though. After starting SAM Jake Ryan tore his ACL this spring, Beyer was moved back to SAM and appears entrenched there until Ryan returns (projected to be in October). Beyer showed little in the spring game.
My opinion of Beyer's skills has been sullied over the past couple seasons. I expected him to be a little more athletic than he has shown, but even in his lighter days, he hasn't shown the ability to be explosive. He has added almost 30 pounds since he arrived, and that probably doesn't bode well for his athleticism. Meanwhile, he has moved back to linebacker, where such stiffness is an even bigger detriment. All evidence to this point suggests that Beyer will begin the year as the starting SAM: he played there as a freshman over then redshirt junior Cam Gordon, he started over Clark, and he started at outside linebacker in the spring game over Gordon once again. For whatever reason, the coaches want him on the field. However, this is my blog where I sometimes disagree with the coaches, and this would be one of those instances. While Beyer might hold up a tiny bit better against the run, the more athletic Gordon would be a better choice to start at SAM. The coaches might make situational substitutions until Ryan can return, at which point Beyer might find himself bumped back over to weakside end. In this one man's opinion, Beyer should be no higher than #2 at either spot. I don't think this team can afford to have an edge player starting who can only muster half a tackle for loss in two seasons.
Prediction: Part-time starting SAM