OSU returns all three starters at linebacker and several young backups with plenty of speed, athleticism and potential.
One of those starters back is, of course, Alex Elkins. But you could also put him in the “potential” category, because of his inexperience with football.
Who did he most learn from in his first season at OSU? His mate on the outside, Shaun Lewis.
“I heard about Shaun Lewis before I got here — the freshman sensation, the All-American freshman,” Elkins said. “I guess I watched him on film a lot when I was supposed to be watching my position, just to see what his habits were and what made him so great.
“He's just a very special player, and I really enjoyed watching him play. I still do it sometimes, but I don't like to tell him, because we try not to do that to each other. We try to keep each other humble.”
OPPONENT WATCH: SAVANNAH STATE RELYING ON LINEMEN FROM AMERICAN SAMOA
Savannah State struggled mightily on offense last season, averaging just 12.5 points and 238.5 yards per game.
The Tigers hope two big — really big — newcomers on the offensive line will help in 2012. Epafara Moananu, a 6-3, 285-pound tackle, and Ioane Ioane, a 6-5, 320-pound tackle, were both recruited from the American Samoa.
“There are a sparse number of good-sized linemen out there (for small schools),” SSU coach Steve Davenport told the Savannah Morning News. “Whenever you get them, particularly young, you get a chance to mold them. We were fortunate to get them both. They're both good kids, humble. The players gravitate to them.”