Early Monday morning, Beaver Nation learned that running back Malcolm Agnew will transfer to Southern Illinois University. For many, the idea of a three-star recruit leaving town can equate to trouble for a football team.
For Oregon State, it should spark excitement.
Agnew, a sophomore last season, was a player brimming with untapped potential. In 2011, his debut performance produced 223 yards and three scores against Sacramento State. Plagued by hamstring injuries for a major portion of the next two seasons, Agnew saw recruit after recruit take his spot in the depth chart.
Last season, Agnew was given just one start before Storm Woods took over. Then, as Storm began to battle his own injuries in the middle of the season, Agnew was given an increased work load. That is, until Agnew’s former backup, Terron Ward, exploded in two monster games against Arizona State and Cal, and never looked back.
National Signing Day last month has only provided Oregon State’s backfield with more young, promising talent. Damien Haskins, out of New Boston, Texas, was last season’s Northeast Texas player of the year and is a top 100 recruit in the Lone Star State. Oregon State also signed big-back Lawrence Mattison of Spring Branch, Texas. At 6-1, 225 pounds Mattison could give the Beavers the power running game that Ryan McCants failed to produce in recent seasons.
Agnew will join his brother Ray at Southern Illinois University under head coach Dale Lennon. At fullback, Ray will have the opportunity to block for his younger brother. The Salukis play in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Agnew leaving town is not a sign of a crumbling, dysfunctional football program as it often can be when a top-tier recruit transfers. Agnew leaving town is evidence of growth. For me, it is a preview that when spring practice starts on April 1st, there will be a fierce competition to decide the Beaver’s backfield.