#5. Victor Bolden (2013-Present)
The five-foot-nine, 172-lb. Bolden may be built more like a slot receiver than a traditional number one, but that hasn’t stopped the senior from becoming one of the nation’s most feared weapons. The speedy Bolden has been named to the Paul Hornung Watch List for the NCAA’s most versatile player, based on his ability to play as a receiver, rusher, and kick returner.
Victor Bolden led the Beavers in receiving in both 2014 and 2015, was the third-leading rusher in 2014, and he became the first returner in OSU history with both a punt return and kick return for a touchdown. During a disastrous 2-10 campaign, Bolden was a bright spot with 461 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Now Bolden is looking to lead an improved Beavers offense and become the go-to weapon of new quarterback Darell Garretson.
Signature Game #1 - Week 2 Victory Against Hawaii in 2014
The 38-30 victory in Hawaii wasn’t a banner day for the Beavers, despite the 464 yards of offense. Sean Mannion threw an interception deep in Oregon State territory, Rahmel Dockery lost a fumble, and the Rainbow Warriors blocked a punt that led to a touchdown. The victory counted in the record books, but it was a fairly sloppy performance.
OSU started quickly, scoring on runs by Terron Ward, and built up a 38-7 lead, but Hawaii scored the final 23 points, including 16 in the final four minutes. This wild battle was the picture of a shootout, and Victor Bolden was a major factor in the OSU victory. The Beavers star receiver had 11 receptions on the day for 119 yards and the game’s final touchdown. His crucial catches helped Sean Mannion move the offense all game long, and his designed runs, although they didn’t gain many yards, still caused headaches for Hawaii’s defense. Mannion could either hand the ball off to Bolden on a jet sweep or fake the handoff and hit an open receiver in a version of the play-action pass.
Signature Game #2 - 35-27 Victory Against Arizona State in 2014
The 4-5 OSU Beavers were in the midst of a dreadful four-game losing streak. The opponent? 8-1 Arizona State, ranked sixth in the nation. The perfect recipe for another Beavers “Giant Killer” moment, much like the victory over Mark Sanchez and the number one USC Trojans in 2008. The Beavers beat Arizona State and showed off an ability to score with Jordan Villamin, Terron Ward, Storm Woods, and an opportunistic Michael Doctor. Not to be outdone, Victor Bolden had some of the biggest plays as he caught seven passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
One such play came with 12 seconds left in the first half. Trying to reach field goal range, Mannion threw a slant to Bolden, but the pass was way off target. Bolden did a full Superman dive, caught the ball in midair, and landed just beyond the first down marker. This diving catch was ridiculously athletic, and it moved the chains at the perfect moment. As the game progressed, Bolden showed off his route running, culminating in a 15-yard touchdown reception during the third quarter. Bolden left ASU’s corner in his dust after completely faking out the defender on a seam route. There was no safety help over the top, and Mannion hit Bolden right in stride for six points.
No one expected the Beavers to take down Arizona State, but the team banded together and played like a juggernaut.
Oregon State has obviously cranked out some exciting receivers over the years, and all five of these players were undeniably fun to watch. Unfortunately, Victor Bolden is in the midst of his final season of Corvallis so we must now look to the future. After he graduates, who will take the mantle? Seth Collins and Xavier Hawkins are two sophomores with a necessary mixture of speed, hands, and flashy plays. Both could potentially become that next star, but the smart choice is Collins. The former quarterback-turned receiver has dedicated himself to becoming the best receiver possible, and the hard work has paid off. Quarterback Darell Garretson already looks for Collins during big moments, and the connection will only grow as the season continues. Now is the time for Collins to make his mark.