The Oregon State Beavers are looking to replace 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks in 2014 in order to keep their prolific passing game rolling this season. But that didn’t stop them from taking one of their receivers, senior Obum Gwacham, and switching him over to defense to bolster their depth on that side of the ball. While that isn’t news in and of itself, the fact that he’s making the switch from receiver to defensive end makes Gwacham a very interesting player to watch in 2014.
Gwacham is a big-bodied former sprinter that coaches had high hopes for in the passing game. At 6-foot-5 and with great sprinting and leaping ability, he seemed tailor-made to become an impact player at receiver but never seemed to take to the offensive side of the ball. After three seasons, he has recorded just 11 total receptions, including only one catch for six yards in 2013.
So this spring, coaches move Gwacham to the defensive side of the ball to see if his unique talents would be better served at defensive end. The team is in good shape for every-down defensive ends with Dylan Wynn on one side and either Jaswha James, Lavonte Barnett, or Titus Failauga on the other. That will allow Gwacham to hone his ability as a pass-rusher, using his great length and athleticism, to get after the quarterback in passing situations.
It’s not every day that a wide receiver makes the switch to get down in the trenches on the defensive line. But that’s what makes Obum Gwacham so intriguing heading into the fall. The young man is an elite athlete who, for one reason or another, couldn’t catch on with the offense. Will he be able to provide a spark for the defense?