Predicting the Oregon State Beavers decade ahead

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It's December 31st, 2029 and the Oregon State Beavers have enjoyed a pretty solid decade.

A decade much improved from the debacle that was the 2010s, which saw the Beavers football program miss a bowl game the final seven years. 

Completed Rebuild

To get the 2020s started, head coach Jonathan Smith was able to complete his rebuild into a competitive program by qualifying for the team's first bowl game in eight seasons. Nebraska transfer Tristan Gebbia got an offseason of development going into the year, defeated Chance Nolan in an open quarterback competition during training camp, and lead the Beavers to six victories. To cap off the season in the 2020 Cheez-It Bowl, Jermar Jefferson ran for three touchdowns as the Beavers routed Gary Andersen and the Utah State Aggies, 38-17. Jefferson was named Cheez-It Bowl MVP. 

Hodgins went pro

In the 2020 NFL Draft, Isaiah Hodgins was selected in the third round to the Philadelphia Eagles who needed depth at wide receiver following an injury-ridden 2019 season. Hodgins went on to have a successful career where he worked his way into the starting lineup and became a favorite target of Carson Wentz. 

Better recruiting

Following the first bowl appearance in eight seasons, Oregon State began earning more respect from higher-ranked recruits from high school rather than needing to rely on JUCO transfers. Each recruiting season, Smith put together top-50 classes nationally with a healthy mix of JUCO players who will contribute right away and developmental high schoolers with high potential. Also after Jake Luton successfully worked his way onto an NFL roster,  Smith could sell to recruits that he can develop excellent passers and get them ready for the pros. 

Giant Killers

The Beavers even had a signature Giant Killers win over a top-5 USC team in 2025 at Reser Stadium, which brought even more national spotlight to the program. The win propelled Oregon State into the thick of the conference title race that ended with an Alamo Bowl victory over Texas; the Beavers first time finishing a season ranked (No. 17) in twelve seasons. 

The finish caused blue blood programs to look at Jonathan Smith to be their next head coach, but he ultimately chose to stay in Corvallis coaching his alma mater, after another pay raise of course. The former-Beavers quarterback turned head coach continued to out scheme opposing defenses as the Beavers finished in the top half of the Pac-12 in total offense each season. 

Familiar faces come home

Towards the end of the decade, Jake Luton, now retired from the NFL, worked his way up from being a graduate assistant with the team to finishing out the decade as the quarterbacks coach. Luton had mentioned before graduating from Oregon State a desire to coach after his playing days are over and he gets to do it at his alma mater, just like the head coach. That wasn't the only homecoming, however. Former-Beavers head coach Mike Riley returned in an advisory position with the University, helping mainly with recruiting.

Jonathan Smith entered the decade as a team that hadn't made a bowl game in seven years. Now he operates a program that expects to qualify for a bowl game each season while giving top tier teams scares, and sometimes even upsetting them if things break right. 

Predicting the Oregon State Beavers decade ahead originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest