OSU Fall Camp Preview: Tight Ends/H-Backs

OREGON STATE HAS questions and depth issues at some spots, but not at tight end. And that's even after a couple in the group were converted to o-tackles earlier this year and an incoming freshman decided not to show up. One reasons why Oregon State fans should feel awfully good about the tight end corps? How about two: Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith.

ESPN opined the Beavs have the best two tight ends in the Pac-12 earlier this summer.

And it's damned hard to disagree with that assessment. The only thing I'd do is extend the evaluation to the entire tight end group.

Despite a season where he battled through injuries, Connor Hamlett had 40 catches for 364 yards last year. Caleb Smith added another 25 for 343 yards.

Hamlett (6-7, 265) and Smith (6-6, 270) could become even more prominent in the passing game this season, with Brandin Cooks now off to the NFL.

Both are good blockers, smith especially, and you can count on plenty of sets where both are out there on the field at the same time, with the Beavs utilizing both TE and H-back slots.

Fans shouldn't sleep on Kellen Clute (6-5, 245) either.

Clute was the beneficiary of injuries to both Hamlett and Smith last year (and this spring) and gained some valuable experience.

Jacob Wark, a 6-4, 250-pound post-graduate from Cal is walking on and will be looking to carve out his Saturday niche as well.

The biggest question might be this: will Ryan Nall (6-3, 230) play as a true freshman?

On paper, you'd say no. But Mike Riley is high on the The Oregonian's 2013 Player of the Year. Nall was a linebacker and funning back for Central Catholic High but he's versatile and intelligent, and could pick up the TE/H-back role quickly enough that he could see the field this season.

Dustin Stanton and Hayden Craig moved to offensive tackle, and Craig has since retired due to injury. Incoming freshman Jake Knight decided not to play football. And still, OSU is looking solid and deep at the spot.


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