Post Spring Analysis: Wide Receivers

Finding a number two receiver behind James Newson, was one of Mike Riley's priorities during spring practice. While Newson solidified himself as the Beavers go-to guy, several talented players vied for the two spot.

The eleven-player wide receiver corps is probably the most talented group ever at OSU. The word that best describes the receivers at this point is potential. There is a tremendous amount of ability and skill, but few have proven themselves in game situations.

Kenny Farley and Jayson Boyd currently sit on top of the depth chart due to their experience last year, but neither had a standout spring to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Two red shirts, Josh Hawkins and Travis Brown, had excellent spring practices and could move into starting roles during the course of the season.

The great aspect about having a deep receiving group is the competition between the players for a starting role. Another luxury is the ability to replace a receiver who is not performing well with another who is looking for an opportunity to impress the coaches.

Newson will once again lead the Beavers in receiving while Boyd and Farley will get their time to shine early on. If they do not perform well, look for Josh Hawkins and Travis Brown to take one of their places.

James Newson leads the receivers with his play, work ethic, and attitude. The 6-foot-1, 208-pound senior runs routes harder, catches better, and blocks better than the rest of the receivers. He is the mouthiest out of the group and one of the leaders of the offense and the team.

Newson returns after an outstanding junior season where he set an OSU season record with 1,284 receiving yards on 74 receptions. He scored 12 touchdowns, good for third on the team behind Derek Anderson and Steven Jackson.


James Newson looks to have another 1,000-yard season.

In 2003, Newson will be one of the top receivers in the Pac-10 and the country. Newson will see more attention paid to him, but that should not matter as he showed in the 2002 Insight Bowl. Look for him to become the first receiver in Oregon State history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

Kenny Farley and Jayson Boyd hold starting positions heading into fall camp.

Farley, a 6-foot-3, 221-pound senior has the size to shed any defender. Farley had a decent spring catching numerous passes across the middle. Many Beaver Believers feel that he needs to make a commitment to work harder and grab the title as the Beavers second receiver.

He started the 2002 season with a bang, racking up 280 yards on 11 catches in the first four games, but would fade in Pac-10 play(,) catching 18 passes for 246 yards.

Dependable Cole Clasen sat out spring drills due to a combination of turf toe and academic problems. Clasen attended most practices and will suit up in the fall.

The former walk-on looks to improve on his 2002 numbers when he caught 23 passes for 273 yards and one touchdown in 12 games. He is a great possession receiver who could emerge as the Beavers second receiver.


Kenny Farley and Jayson Boyd are looking to emerage as one
of the Beavers number two receiver.

Jayson Boyd was perhaps the most hyped player coming out of spring practice last year, but failed to produce during the ’02 campaign. On the first play in 2002 he ran behind the Eastern Kentucky defense and dropped a beautiful pass from Derek Anderson that should have been a touchdown.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound sophomore once again showed his speed during spring drills running behind the Beaver secondary at will.

Beaver fans know Boyd has the potential to become an All-Pac-10 receiver with his speed and athleticism. Possibly without the high expectations this year, Boyd will produce in ’03.

Josh Hawkins and Travis Brown, both red shirts, feel they have paid their dues and are ready to play.

Hawkins red shirted in 2002 after playing eleven games in 2001 catching six passes for 74 yards and one touchdown.

The 6-foot-0, 186-pound sophomore had an excellent spring. One could tell that Hawkins had a year of experience under his belt as he ran good routes and had solid hands.

The Long Beach native could easily slide into a starting position even though he is currently behind Newson on the depth chart. The great part about Hawkins red shirting is opponents will most likely overlook him and be surprised at how good he is.


Josh Hawkins and Tavis Brown could play a significant role
in 2003.

Travis Brown, a 5-10, 170 pound receiver is the smallest of the receiving group, and is undoubtedly the quickest.

The sophomore is small, has good footwork, and is deceptively fast. He has a knack for finding the hole in the defense and could see loads of playing time this year.

The talented receivers continue with junior college transfers Deondre Alexander, George Gillett, and Scott Lawson.

Alexander, a transfer from Palomar Community College, played minimally in 2002 (Three games, four receptions for 29 yards) but is ready to contribute. He showcased his speed and quickness during spring practice and will be a great asset to the team. The 5-foot-10, 173-pound junior is in the similar mold as Brown and could make his way up the depth chart this season.

George Gillett returns after catching 7 passes for 140 yards in 2002. Gillett is a solid receiver, but does not posses the speed or quickness of many of the Beavers. The 6-foot-1, 214-pound junior will see playing time, but it may be minimal.

The third 5-foot-10 receiver on the team, Scott Lawson, possesses an incredible work ethic that will carry him far. Lawson is the hardest working receiver behind Newson.

The final two receivers, sophomore Mike Hass and junior college transfer Arcadius St. Laurent, complete the eleven-player field.

Hass worked hard during drills and showed he had reliable hands. St. Laurent is probably the slowest out the group but will improve over time.

Due to the depth, Hass and St. Laurent will have to fight an uphill battle for playing time.


BeaverFootball.com’s Wide Receiver Rankings


1. James Newson, Senior (6-1, 208) - Should have a great senior year. Runs very tight routes, has great hands, and has the attitude to be one of the best receivers in the nation. One of the leaders on offense. Had several leaping catches during April.

2. Josh Hawkins, Sophomore (6-0, 186) – After sitting out a year, Hawkins returns to the Beavers with one-year of playing experience under his belt. His experience showed, as he looked sharp during spring drills. Hawkins could surprise some teams since he red shirted.

3. Jayson Boyd, Sophomore (6-4, 200) – Boyd has unlimited potential. He is obviously one of the fastest players on the team and can stretch the defense. Boyd frequently has a hard time holding onto the ball after getting open.

4. Cole Clasen, Junior (5-9, 185) – Clasen sat out during spring drills due to academics, but should return in the fall. He is a great possession receiver who rarely drops any passes.

5. Kenny Farley, Senior (6-3, 221) – Big receiver who has the ability to have an excellent season. Farley sometimes doesn’t work as hard as the other receivers, but if he focuses he could have a great year.

6. Travis Brown, Sophomore (5-10, 175) – Hard working quick receiver. Had a great spring running quick routes and holding onto the ball. Could move up the depth chart during the season.

7. Deondre Alexander, Junior (5-10, 173) – Quick, shifty receiver, good hands. Confident of his ability to make plays.

8. George Gillett, Junior (6-1, 214) – Big receiver who contributed nicely in 2002, but could see his playing time decrease with the new talent.

9. Scott Lawson, Freshman (5-10, 174) – Probably the second hardest working receiver behind Newson. Runs disciplined routes and hardly ever drops a pass. Definitely could move up the depth chart during the season.

10. Mike Hass, Sophomore (6-1, 208) – Works hard, which could take him far in the years ahead. He is a top performer on special teams.

11. Arcadius St. Laurent, Junior (6-1, 195) – Probably the least athletic receiver on the team, probably won’t see any playing time in 2003, will improve as he learns the system.

 

Look for the post spring analysis of the Offensive line on Monday.


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