It’s not often that the Oregon State football team brings in a transfer from another Power Five conference.
This offseason was an exception with players coming to Corvallis from Nebraska, Arizona and Oklahoma.
All of the players could impact the program, but Oklahoma transfer Addison Gumbs is particularly intriguing.
Gumbs, an outside linebacker, was highly recruited out of Stellar Prep in Hayward, California. He was rated as a four-star player after finishing his senior season with 23 sacks and had gotten offers from quite a few programs, including Tennessee, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington and Oregon State before picking the Sooners.
He played in four games for OU in 2017 and had eight tackles and broke up a pass.
Gumbs was projected as a starter at linebacker for 2018, but suffered a knee injury the day before the Sooners were to open the season.
Gumbs was done for the season. It wasn’t long before he announced his transfer to OSU. He said he wanted to return to the West Coast and play in the Pac-12.
He liked what he saw in Beavers’ head coach Jonathan Smith and defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar.
“I grew up watching it,” Gumbs said. “I grew up watching a lot of linebackers go high in the draft and a lot of successes they’ve had, not just in this league, but outside of this league. That’s why pass rushing linebacker in this conference was really attractive to me.
“I saw coach Tibesar, I really liked his defense last year and I felt I could fit into it real well. He put a ton of guys in the NFL when he was at Wisconsin, so I feel like I could be one of those guys.”
It helped that Gumbs knew cornerback DeShon Wilson from Stellar Prep and played against Isaac and Isaiah Hodgins, who played at Berean Christian in Oakley, California.
Isaac, a defensive lineman for OSU, actually faced Gumbs as an offensive lineman in the playoffs.
“He’s pretty fast, you know. I think he got a sack on me,” Isaac Hodgins said. “It was kind of my quarterback’s fault, but yeah.”
Gumbs is listed by the Beavers as 6-foot-3, 253 pounds. He said he varies from about 245 to 250 and is comfortable in that weight range.
He is going to play both outside linebacker spots and could be disruptive against the pass through pressuring the quarterback or dropping into coverage if necessary.
It’s a position he’s very familiar with and should be able to settle into quickly. He wants to get to the quarterback as much as possible.
“Definitely as an outside linebacker you’ve got to be a good pass rusher and you want to be productive, you want to be a highly touted guy, so pass rushing is definitely something I strive to be the one of the best at,” Gumbs said.
He has the potential to be a game-changing player for the Beavers.
“It could be pretty big,” Isaac Hodgins said. “If he could come in and get all his plays and stuff down it should be a huge impact he has on our defense with just his size and how he plays.”
Tibesar said he’s been impressed with Gumbs’ football intelligence.
“(He) wants to talk football, he’s a football junkie himself, wants to come up and watch film with me and learn as much as he can,” Tibesar said.
For the time being, Gumbs will have to learn through conversations with the coaches and watching video.
He’s still recovering from his injury and might not be able to do any activity during spring practices.
“He had ACL surgery at the end of August and so he’s still not cleared to go full-go and won’t be ready for spring practice right away,” Tibesar said. “And so all that stuff is a work in progress, but certainly he brings that size and speed that we’re looking for at the outside linebacker position.”
Gumbs is eager to get back on the field when he is able.
“I’m pumped for this season, I’m pumped for fall camp and these workouts,” he said. “I’ll see what I can do this spring, but I’m super excited for this season to get it rolling.”