Jesiah Irish has always been an intriguing prospect for Oregon State, and his accomplishments in the spring only raised his profile.
Irish clocked a 4.26-second 40-yard dash during the Beavers’ skills combine in March. A month later, he torched the top of the defense at Oregon State’s spring football game and made an incredible diving catch on a post route, showing just how lethal of a deep threat he can be.
“He’s a really, really good athlete — one of the better ones for sure,” Oregon State wide receivers coach Kefense Hynson said. “They’re all subtly different, all these guys … He’s unique — he’s got a big skillset. There isn’t much he can’t do.”
Now, after a summer in the film room, he is starting to refine the edges of his game and mix that elite speed with a nuanced understanding of the Beavers' offense. The combination could cause plenty of headaches for Pac-12 secondaries this fall as Irish works his way into the OSU receiver rotation.
“After the spring game I kind of wanted to take more time in the classroom and perfect those routes and kind of perfect the calls and stuff like that,” Irish said. “The play wasn’t the problem for me. It was more the steady piece and that kind of aspect. So taking my time on that has really helped me.”
Irish played in four games in 2018 and utilized his redshirt season. He caught two passes for 23 yards at Stanford and returned four kickoffs for 80 yards at Washington as he got a glimpse of the Pac-12’s elite teams.
He has always been one of the best athletes on the field regardless of the competition. But during the summer, he focused specifically on how to release on different routes and how to recognize and combat specific defensive looks.
“You just spend time on it, watching yourself and studying others,” Irish said. “The best study themselves. So I’ve been really trying to do that and study the best in the NFL and in college. I would go watch Odell Beckham on press or Antonio Brown on press and just learn different kinds of moves.”
Irish has been running with the first team for much of fall camp, but the Beavers are also battling some attrition at the receiver position.
Trevon Bradford has been absent from training camp with an injury and could possibly return at the end of this week. Hynson said it is still far too soon to predict how Oregon State’s wideout depth chart will play out this season, but he praised the progress Irish has made and said his route running and knowledge of the offseason are much improved.
Between Bradford, Isaiah Hodgins and Nebraska sophomore transfer Tyjon Lindsey, the Beavers are loaded with wideout talent. But Irish, with a crucial year of experience under his belt, could add another dimension to OSU’s offense.
Throughout camp, the coaching staff has challenged him to go make more plays like his catch from the spring game.
“With Jesiah, I think it’s just the details,” Beavers offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said. “The details and the technique stuff. His ability to release, the way he needs to run a route against a certain coverage, I think we’re still wanting to see him improve. But you can’t teach that speed and the ability to stretch the field. I love having him out there for that reason.”