Every fall for three seasons, Sean Mannion and Dylan Wynn faced each other from opposite sides of the football field.
Mannion was playing for Foothill High in Pleasanton, Calif., and Wynn for De La Salle High in nearby Concord.
Mannion learned quickly to expect extra bruising after the meetings.
“When I played him in high school he pummeled me pretty good,” Mannion said. “He probably hit me about 20 times in three years in high school.”
They are teammates at Oregon State now — good news for Mannion.
Not so great for Pacific-12 Conference offenses.
Wynn enters his junior season at OSU with 19 starts, 93 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
He is known for his high-motor play and nose for the ball. As a freshman, Wynn recovered an OSU-record five fumbles.
“He’s relentless,” Mannion said.
“He’s the kind of guy where you’ve always got to be looking out for him if you’re moving out of the pocket because you know he ain’t going to quit on it,” Mannion said.
Before his sophomore season, Wynn worked to put on bulk and beefed up to 265 pounds — good size for stopping the run, but Wynn wanted to get to the quarterback, to be more effective in passing situations. That meant adding speed and quickness.
Now he’s a slimmed, streamlined 260 pounds.
“The whole summer I spent on my speed and getting faster. It’s definitely paid off and I can feel it now, which is great,” Wynn said.
“I’ve leaned out a lot but I do weigh the same. A big focus was getting lean, more flexible, and I’ve done that.”
He said he is noticeably faster.
An improved Wynn will team with Scott Crichton for an even more imposing OSU defensive-end tandem.
“My big goal was to make it more on third downs for passing situations and I think I’ve gotten there,” Wynn said. “We’ll see, but being able to have that second threat going into games is huge.”
Keeping his weight up was important for Wynn’s versatility.
The Beavers like to have the option of moving some of the defensive ends inside to tackle.
“I played D-tackle once in a while, definitely situational stuff, but a lot of our ends go in at tackle, too, just so we can get that pass-rush deal on the inside,” Wynn said. “It really depends on the down and distance.
“It’s nice to mix it up a little bit.”
Wynn is intense on the field, in the weight room and watching film.
He throws all his energy into every action.
If he does not know a play well enough, he will make a point to write it down.
“Dylan takes everything very seriously, which is a good thing,” senior Beaver defensive end Devon Kell said. “He takes pride in what he does. He’s full speed all the time, whether or not we’re supposed to be walk-through or not, he goes full speed. He only knows full speed and that’s his motor, so it works for him.”
On game day he has his rituals to get ready for play.
Wynn does not hesitate to get vocal during practice or a game, but he keeps quiet when game time is approaching.
“I just don’t talk very much before games, I’m pretty quiet in the weight room. I’m just in my own zone,” he said. “I was kind of like that in high school and my whole team was like that in high school, so I guess that’s just what I’m used to.”
Music is a big part of his preparation. It ranges from calm and soothing to loud and aggressive.
“He loves his music, he’ll get all amped up to it, dance around to it a little bit,” Kell said. “When he lifts, he goes hard, when he dances, he goes hard. He likes to go full force on everything he does.”
Eastern Washington at Oregon State
• When: Saturday, Aug. 31, 3 p.m.
• TV: Pac-12 Network