Depth chart end of April:
Joe Newton – rehabbing from a left shoulder injury he sustained in October of 2004
The tight-ends have been an important part of the offense for several years and it’s a good thing they have been two-deep for almost a decade at OSU. With Joe Newton, Dan Haines, and Jason Vandiver on the squad this may be the best set of tight-ends in the history of the program.
Newton is definitely going to be drafted, while Vandiver, if he has a good showing this year, has a chance as well. At the very least Vandiver and probably Haines will sign free agent contracts. That means that defenses will have their hands full with the versatile and athletic three.
Newton is by the far the most talented of the trio as he possesses solid hands, nimble feet and one thing you can’t teach – height. The Oregon native was not at 100% for most of spring camp as worked his left shoulder back into shape. The junior will once again be an integral part of the passing attack in addition to the running game but with Vandiver on campus, Newton can focus on the offensive part of his game.
Vandiver, a JC All-American, is known as a tough blocker and relishes the thought of putting the opposition on their behinds. He is a good athlete just like Newton and also has solid hands, but will be relied on for extra protection for quarterback. Vandiver will also play some H-back and clear the way for the running backs.
With Vandiver and Newton in the lineup, where does that put the talented Dan Haines? Right on the field with Jason and Joe. Due to Oregon State’s tight-end heavy formations, there will be plenty of time for Haines to make his presence felt. He is the fastest of the tight ends and if he can avoid injury, he should have a solid season.
Jim Hanchett returns for his senior season after a tumultuous 2004. His play on the football field hurt his play on the basketball court as his body adjusted to the physically nature of football, plus he tweaked his shoulder. Hanchett will see little time on the field.
Top spring performer:
Joe Newton. The future NFLer looked solid coming back from his almost season ending shoulder injury. You could tell he was a little worried about getting hit at first, but settled in nicely.
Spring tight ends summary in three sentences or less:
Newton was almost at 100% by the end of camp and is the most complete tight end of the group. Vandiver and Haines will see plenty of time, Vandiver as a H-back, Haines as a receiver.
Who’s coming in the fall: