One of the backbones of the Oregon State program is productive wide receivers and tight ends who can make plays with their hands or with their blocking ability. While four very talented true freshmen wait in the wings for their chance to come in and compete for early playing time, there is group of veterans and young players looking make an impact before then this spring.
RETURNING CONTRIBUTORS & KEY LOSSES
No loss is bigger to this unit that the graduation of Markus Wheaton. He was one of the most productive receivers in Oregon State history amassing 2994 yards receiving and 631 yards rushing along with 21 touchdowns in his career.
Colby Prince has also graduated. The tight end was key to the Beavers blocking game the past couple of years.
Brandin Cooks is the leading receiver returning for the Beavers. The junior is poised to take on some of the slack left by Wheaton. It is hard to believe that he is starting his third year in the program, but many expect big things from him.
Who will step up and add productivity to the Beavers offense?
Many will be watching Kevin Cummings, Obum Gwacham and Malik Gilmore very closely this spring. Cummings had some big catches last year, but he has yet become a 'go-to' clutch receiver for the Beavers. He has been working hard in the off-season and look for him to be a contributor this fall.
With Richard Mullaney sidelined after shoulder surgery this winter, Obum Gwacham and Malik Gilmore have a great opportunity to rise to the occassion and grasp playing time. Gwacham has the physical attributes needed, but needs to develop his confidence and solidify his route running and blocking.
Gilmore spent the year on the scout team and in the weight room. He is a hard worker who has studied hard in the off-season to make an impression.
PRESSURE IS ON
Tyler Perry has a chance to breakout onto the scene at tight end, but he'll have Caleb Smith who saw some action as a true freshman nipping at his heels. In his third year in the program, it is really now or never for Perry to make his presence felt.
The H-back position appears to be a strength going forward. Connor Hamlett had some big catches this year and expect to see him more involved in the passing game in 2013. Kellen Clute shows a lot of promise as does Dustin Stanton, who spent his redshirt year putting on a good 30 pounds.