Going into the spring, I was guessing that Tight End would probably be one of the weaker positions on the team because Tim Euhus was not participating in drills. After him, there were quite a few questions. Jermaine Jackson saw quite a bit of playing time in 2001 behind Euhus, but the moment he will most be remembered by was probably not the one he will want to remember. He dropped a pass at the goal line against USC in overtime that probably would have been for a touchdown and would have prevented USC from winning on Carson Palmer's touchdown run. Also battling for time will be Tyler Ross, Dan Haines, Pat Loney, Gabe Button, and Joe Newton, a freshman from Roseburg High School who will be joining the team this fall.
Euhus was at every practice this spring showing his support and rehabbing his knee. He was often seen jogging up stairs. He is recovering from surgery to remove cartilage in his knee. He should be at 100% by the opening of fall practice. Euhus showed off his talent last year. He is a great pass catcher and with a year of experience under his belt, he should be even better in 2002 as long as he can recover from his surgery. But even if he doesn't recover immediately, the Beavers should be okay because they have lots of depth at the position.
Jackson was primarily a blocking Tight End before coming to OSU, but he definitely showed this spring that he has the ability to make catches. He was number four on the depth chart going into fall practice last year, but he steadily gained more playing time and was number two by the end of last season. Ross came to OSU as a walk-on from Wilson High School in Portland and has made an impact. He is a three-year letterwinner. Haines is extremely athletic for his size. He runs a freakish 4.56 in the 40. He has the ability to turn and run up the field. His arms are absolutely huge. Pat Loney and Gabe Button will be competing for time this fall. Ross, Jackson, and Euhus will get most of it.
Joe Newton will be joining the team this fall. He will graduate from Roseburg High this June. Newton was the best collegiate prospect in the state of Oregon this past year. He selected Oregon State and continued the pipeline from Roseburg to Corvallis, following in the steps of former Beavers Jake Cookus, Chris Gibson, Mark Walsh, current Beaver and probable 2002 starter Matt Brock, and walk-on strong safety Kevin Linderman. Newton has been favorably compared with Jerramy Stevens, the former Washington Husky and first round draft choice by the Seahawks. Newton is 6'7" and weighs 240 pounds. He is quick and has great hands. And coming from Roseburg, he will have great technical knowledge, being taught by a legend in Thurman Bell, who played football at Oregon State.
There was talk that Newton might be ready to jump in and compete immediately, but he will only play as a true freshman if he is able to break into the top two at the position. But with the depth and the fierce competition he'll face, I doubt he could overtake the guys in front of him in only a few weeks of practice. Regardless of talent, there is no substitute for experience.
The tight end position should be one of the strongest points at OSU not only this year, but in the years to come. If Euhus is healthy, it will be an all out battle for playing time. As is the case with just about every position, I doubt there has ever been a deeper group of tight ends at Oregon State in the history of the program.
Tight End Preview
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