Spring battles: Wide receiver

SPRING BALL KICKS off at Oregon State this month and as the football team takes their early steps in preparing for the season, BeaverFootball.com takes a look at positions to keep an eye on. At the wide receiver spot for Oregon State, it might not be about who as much as it might be about where. Also, just why has the NCAA taken so long on a Sammie Stroughter decision?

Assuming Sammie Stroughter is granted a medical reshirt, he'll almost certainly line up at his old position, split end.

It does seem odd that Stroughter has still not received clearance. After all, Oklahoma defensive end John Williams, after applying in January, has already received his medical redshirt from the NCAA -- his second such request that was granted according to the Associated Press.

A few years ago, Oklahoma's Jason White was given a sixth year on December 19, a mere six days after he won the Heisman Trophy. So why is there still no word on Oregon State's Stroughter here in mid-March?

The drawn out delay for Oregon State and Stroughter does nothing to alleviate the perception of the NCAA that some schools receive consideration that others do not.

Should Stroughter return, and it would be a surprise if he doesn't, delay notwithstanding, Darrell Catchings, who was the Beavs' split end after Stroughter bruised his kidney last year, would line up elsewhere.

Flanker would seem to be the obvious choice -- Catchings is 6-foot-1 while James Rodgers, who played flanker last year, checks in at 5-foot-6.

Rodgers' skills set, his ability to get lost in the middle of the field and his height, would seem to augur for a move to the slotback role, where shifty smaller receiver types tend to thrive.

But Mike Riley told the Portland Tribune's Kerry Eggers that might not necessarily be the case.

"We'll look at that situation the entire spring," Riley is quoted in the paper. "One of the main goals will be to determine how we distribute our receiving corps."

SPRING IS ALSO a time for the youth to stake a claim.

Among those who will look to climb the depth chart ladder are Kyle Brown, a redshirt sophomore to be, Chris Johnson, a former junior college transfer entering his senior season at OSU, Portland's Taylor Cavanaugh, Casey Kjos who missed time during his sophomore campaign with a hip injury after earning paying time as a true freshman in '06, and senior-to-be Shane Morales.

Among the walk-ons, Damola Adeniji might be one to keep an eye on. The Eugene native performed well his first year with the Beavs last season and his athleticism could help him earn some turns.

Competition will increase in the fall with the additions of Geno Munoz, Kevan Walker and Jordan Bishop though Bishop may grayshirt, and the players already enrolled at OSU and suiting up this spring are most likely to be the primary producers in '08.

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