Spring Camp Preview: Receivers and Tight Ends

We are two days away from the start of Spring Camp 2017. Time to breakdown the wide receivers and tight ends.

Heading into last season, wide receiver appeared to be a position of strength, and big things were expected of tight end Noah Togiai. However, the OSU receiving corps struggled last season, as Victor Bolden was the only receiver to eclipse 500 yards and Togiai was lost for the season after two games.

In all, Beavers wide receivers and tight ends combined for just 9 touchdowns all year. So, there’s really nowhere to go but up for these groups this season. Oh, and did we mention that the Beavers have a new receivers coach in Jason Phillips? He’s also being asked to help improve the OSU passing game, so it will be interesting to see how the receivers respond.

Key Departures

  • Victor Bolden (graduated): Played in all 12 games, leading the Beavers in yards (542) and tying for the lead with two TDs, one of which was a 72-yarder. Made big impact on special teams with 642 yards on special teams, including a 99-yard TD.
  • Ricky Ortiz (graduated): Played in 11 games, catching 5 passes for 34 yards, one of which was a touchdown in the Civil War.

Key Returners

  • Jordan Villamin (senior): Played in 12 games, caught 21 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown.
  • Seth Collins (junior): Played in 10 games, caught 36 passes for 418 yards and a TD.
  • Timmy Hernandez (junior): Played in 12 games, caught 19 passes for 241 yards and a TD; arguably OSU’s best blocking receiver.
  • Hunter Jarmon (senior): Played in six games, caught 5 passes for 44 yards and a TD.
  • Trevon Bradford (sophomore): Played in eight games, caught five passes for 60 yards and a TD.
  • Xavier Hawkins (senior): Played in 10 games, caught two passes for 13 yards.
  • Noah Togiai (junior): Played in two games, caught 4 passes for 31 yards and a TD.
  • Tuli Wily-Matagi (sophomore): Played in eight games.  

Key Newcomers

  • Isaiah Hodgins (freshman): Early signee and enroller out of Berean Christian High School in Walnut Creek, California. A Scout 4-star prospect, he’s listed at 6-4, 207 pounds by OSU.
  • Kolby Taylor (freshman): Another early signee and enroller out of Chandler High School in Chandler, Arizona. A Scout 3-star prospect, he’s listed at 5-11, 194 pounds by OSU. Is the younger brother of Kerry Taylor, a former Arizona State and NFL receiver, who is in first season as quality control coach for OSU.
  • Quinn Smith (RS junior): Transfer from Lafayette, who sat out all of last season due to transfer rules.

3 Things to Watch

  1. How will this unit respond to a new coach in Phillips? After all, it seems like Brent Brennan was at OSU for ages. The good news is players such as Villamin and Jarmon are probably looking for a chance to leave last season behind and start anew. Both players pass the eyeball test and have talent, maybe a new coach will help them bust out this season. A big season from Villamin would really help the Beavers offense be better in 2017.
  2. It has been rumored the Beavers might tweak their offense and move toward the Air Raid. If so, it will be interesting to see how the WRs and TEs fit into the new system. Also, could the arrival of the big-armed Jake Luton spark the vertical game?
  3. Hodgins and Taylor were two of OSU’s biggest signings this recruiting cycle, and will have a chance to make an impact right away this spring. Hodgins’ size is tantalizing while Taylor is a polished route runner, which could be big boosts in the Beavers’ efforts to develop a strong passing offense. It won’t be easy, but don’t be surprised if these two freshmen are impressive enough that they will make fall camp very, very interesting. 

Final Take

With Seth Collins status during the spring in question, there will be reps to be had. Plus, with Phillips at the helm, everyone could be starting with a fresh slate. So, returners such as Villamin and Jarmon will need to come out strong, as newcomers such as Hodgins and Taylor will have opportunities to push them this spring.Things will only get more heated during fall camp when Tino Allen, Aaron Short and Arex Flemings arrive, so it’s crucial for the Oregon State receivers to use this month as springboard into fall.

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