Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/1/12
The best?

Well, is he?

That’s a good question, and a tough one. The Oregon State Beavers have had plenty of prolific quarterbacks.

There’s Terry Baker, the only Beaver to ever win a Heisman Trophy. There’s Sean Canfield, whose senior season had the Beavers one game shy of the Rose Bowl.

Then there’s Derek Anderson, who owns just about every Oregon State passing record—touchdowns (79), career passing yards (11,249), yards in a game (485) and yards in a single season (4,058).

That’s some pretty hefty competition, but Sean Mannion has the tools to be the best.

He’s already got a pretty strong resume. 65% completion and 3,328 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2011. 16 touchdowns, and 18

Win over Wisconsin could be first step in a very special season for Mannion. Photo Credit: ESPN

glaring interceptions.

So far in 2012, Mannion is completing—you guessed it—65% of his passes for 1,088 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception.

Already with over 1,000 yards passing and nine games left on the season, Mannion has a legitimate shot at Anderson’s single season record. In fact, he’s averaging 362 yards per game which, stretched over 12 games, would have him finish with 4,352.

Keep in mind, this kid is still just a sophomore.

As the season goes on, the young gun is only going to get better. He set a career high 379 passing yards in the game against UCLA, and broke that a week later against Arizona with 433.

Of course he’s not doing it alone.

He’s got a shiny new offensive line guarding him in 2012, lead by five-star recruit Isaac Seumalo.

He’s got an arsenal filled with one of the best receving tandems in the Pac-12—Markus Wheaton (14.9 yards per catch) and Brandin Cooks (19.2)—and a great catch-and-run tailback in Storm Woods (8.9)

As expected from quarterbacks in Riley’s system, he’s taking huge leaps in 2012. His arm looks stronger and way more accurate. He was an absolute samurai against UCLA, slicing up their secondary.

There’s still a huge uphill battle facing the young Beaver star.

With any player, health is always a concern. But if he can stay healthy the sky is the limit for young Mannion.

He’s got everything a great quarterback needs: a good coach, a strong line and devastating weapons.

One more challenge awaits Mannion, which is success in the postseason. Jonathan Smith lead the Beavers to a Fiesta Bowl win in 2001. Derek Anderson took OSU to three bowls—winning two. Matt Moore was named MVP of the 2006 Sun Bowl after setting a Bowl record with four touchdown passes.

With a 3-0 start to 2012—with two wins over ranked favorites Wisconsin and UCLA—the Beavers continue to shine. If they can keep it up, Mannion might just get his shot at some postseason glory.

Either way, the sky’s the limit for this young gunslinger from California. With Beaver Nation at his back, Mannion is ready to be immortalized as the best to ever play at Reser Stadium.

CHECK OUT THE BEAVERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!

© Jonathan Irwin for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Beavers Blog, Beavers History, Brandin Cooks, Derek Anderson, Heisman Trophy, Isaac Seumalo, Markus Wheaton, Matt Moore, NCAA Football, Oregon State football, Sean Mannion, Storm Woods, Terry Baker

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