OSU Fall Camp Preview: Wide Receivers

OREGON STATE didn’t just lose Brandin Cooks at receiver, they also lost Kevin Cummings who started six games. The Beavs won’t replace Cooks in 2014. But the WR corps could still be poised, collectively, to make some big waves this season.

For that to happen, Richard Mullaney needs to stay healthy and take the next step.

Mullaney has fantastic hands, but there were also a few uncharacteristic drops last year. Those might be because he wasn’t 100 percent – a nagging injury tends to throw off the rest of your game. Regardless, the Beavs need for Mullaney to be that steady presence in 2014, and the guy Sean Mannion counts on most to move the chains on third down.

Sophomore Victor Bolden, however, could be the next star in the making. He only caught a handful of passes last season but seeing what he did in open space on the fly sweep and in returns, Bolden reminded of a young Cooks.

And Bolden has what they haven’t been able to figure out how to teach yet – a big burst. Is he ready to start taking over the competition in 2014? Or does he need more seasoning? The guess here is OSU will try all manner of things to get him into space, such is his home-run ability.

The big question mark is Jordan Villamin.

Villamin is 6-4, 245-pounds -- a matchup nightmare. He was held out of practicing last year while he cleared academic hurdles. So there will be rust to shake off, not to mention the usual learning curve.

The smart money says he’ll start to emerge next season. But he also might be one of those guys who makes a splash his first year. And if so, OSU suddenly becomes a lot more difficult to handle. Program insiders told the Portland Tribune Villamin is a physical freak of nature and a blue-chip prospect. You just don't see 245-pound receivers who can run like Villamin.

Meanwhile, Malik Gilmore moves to slot receiver. If he asserts his strength and continues to improve his technique, he could be the beneficiary of defenses keying on other targets.

The wildcards in the mix are Kendall Hill and Hunter Jarmon, two second-year players who are no longer learning the nuances of the Beaver offense.

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