BF.C Spring Preview: TE/H-back

HE'S ONE OF the better kept secrets in college football. But in reality, senior-to-be Joe Halahuni belongs in the conversations about both the top TE/H-backs in the Pac-12 -- and in the land. The question is will he put up solid receiving numbers akin to last season, or will he instead post some real jaw-droppers.

The answer depends on a great many factors – game situation, on if the o-line can give Ryan Katz time, and how often the Beavs look to Joe Halahuni as the primary target are just a few. What it's not overly dependent on is Halahuni – his routes, his hands, his ability after the catch, they all scream out future NFL draft pick, even if his lack of prototypical height does not.

Last season, Halahuni (6-2, 258) hauled in 30 receptions for 390 yards and six TDs. Those are solid numbers. But they're probably only about half of what he is capable of putting up in a season.

Indeed, Halahuni could be in line for a year like Arizona's Rob Gronkowski had in 2008. The best TE in Wildcat history, Gronkowski that season had 47 catches, 672 yards and 10 TDs in just 10 games (9 starts). He's now with in the NFL, a second round pick of the New England Patriots.

Halahuni also improved considerably on his blocking last season. His greatest contributions, however, will remain in the passing game.

Halahuni isn't infallible, the indelible image of his season in 2010 was the Katz pass in the end zone against UW that he couldn't corral. The UW defender probably got a fingertip on that ball, but Halahuni said at the time he should have caught it, and that it rendered moot all the good that had come before it.

That assessment may be a bit too harsh. And if a similar situation develops in 2011, chances are Halahuni's number will called.

With Halahuni listed as the No. 1 H-back, Colby Prince (6-3, 266) and Connor Hamlett (6-7, 258) are 1-2 at the tight end position on the Beavs' depth chart, with Tyler Perry (6-4, 240) pegged as Halhauni's understudy.

And Prince and Hamlett are apt to play no small role this spring.

Oregon State's o-line had a rough go of things in 2010. But the TE and H-back are also part and parcel of that.

Whether staying home in max-protect or blocking for the ground game, they, along with the o-line, just didn't get it done in 2010. That needs to change this spring and the units' blocking will undoubtedly be under the proverbial microscope of the coaches.

And this spring will be big for all three, as OSU looks to find ways to winning the battle on the line of scrimmage – which in turn could lead to some big Saturday afternoons in the receiving column.

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