PLAYERS LOST: None
OVERVIEW: We've been saying it the last few years on BF.C but it hasn't happened (hey, one of these years it has to..) - the Beaver tight ends are due for a big receiving year and there are several reasons why.
First, senior quarterback. In Derek Anderson's senior season, a tight end was the second leading receiver and was tied for the most receiving touchdowns on the team. In Matt Moore's final year in Corvallis, a tight end was the second leading receiver and had the most receiving touchdowns on the squad.
Second, there isn't an established player in the slot coming into fall camp -- gone are Brandon Powers and red zone touchdown machine Shane Morales. That should mean the tight ends are looked at more in the seam.
And last but not least, experience. The top three tight ends have been in the system for at least four seasons. And this spring saw perhaps a rising star in the form of sophomore Joe Halahuni.
So, onto the players. John Reese and Howard Croom are the seniors and current starters. Reese has the big body and athleticism to become a deadly threat on offense. He caught 10 passes for 109 hashes last season, the yardage being tops among the tight ends.
Croom started 10 games a year ago, grabbing six passes for 37 yards. He is one of the better all around tight ends for the Beavs.
Oregonian Brady Camp's involvement in the offense increased last year, with 12 receptions (most catches by an OSU tight end) for 92 yards and two touchdowns in five starts. The coaches value his toughness on the line and his dependable hands in the flat.
Perhaps the most athletic and explosive tight end on the roster is sophomore Joe Halahuni. He caught just one pass, which ended up being a touchdown last year. But his lead blocking turned more than a few heads, especially near the goal line. And as a receiver this spring, he shined bright indeed.
Halahuni has been plagued by injuries throughout his short OSU career, but looks to be healthy for the second consecutive fall camp and it will not be a surprise to see his involvement in the offense increase significantly.
Another younger player whom the coaches are extremely excited about is redshirt freshman Colby Price. A tall, lanky big target at 6-foot-3, 250-pounds, Prince has good speed.
AN OPTIMIST WOULD SAY: A senior quarterback, plus upperclassmen tight ends, equals offensive success and more catches, yards and scores by the group.
A PESSIMIST WOULD SAY: Same as it ever was - if the tight ends haven't made an impact by now they never will, and the Beavs are looking to run, run, run the pigskin.
STAR PLAYER: Howard Croom.
UNIT WEAKNESS: Involvement in the passing game. This sometimes doesn't have a whole lot to do with the tight ends themselves.
UNIT STRENGTH: Depth and experience. No more thinking about what to do for most in this group, they just get it done.
INCOMING RECRUIT: Devin Unga. A versatile athlete who just got back from his two-year LDS Mission to Chile - expected to redshirt.
NOTABLE NOTE: The tight ends over the past two years have accounted for just seven touchdowns since Joe Newton graduated in 2006. Newton scored seven touchdowns alone in '06.
STATS: Croom (13 games, 10 starts): six passes for 37 yards | Camp (13 games, five starts): 12 catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns | Reese (13 games): 10 passes for 109 yards | Halahuni (9 games, one start): one catch for three yards and one touchdown