Oregon State TE ready to again emerge?

IS OSU READY to once again incorporate the tight end as a major offensive weapon, or was the breakout game last week more a matter of the Beavs focusing on a specific matchup against USC? Well, whatever the answer might be, sophomore tight end Joe Halahuni accomplished something last week that Beaver great Joe Newton never achieved..

Joe Halahuni had a 100-yard receiving game for the Beavs. As much of a grabmaster as Newton was, he never had a 100-yard receiving game during his collegiate career.

It's been awhile since Beaver Nation has seen a tight end in orange and black rumble through the secondary for big gains -- since Newton in 2006, actually.

The 6-foot-2, 249-pound Halahuni hauled in nine passes for 127 yards against USC last weekend equaling his reception and yardage total from the previous six games.

"Joe obviously was making plays in the game," coach Mike Riley said.

Halahuni was one of the better talents coming out of the state of Washington in 2005 but was under-recruited due to him playing, and dominating, at the 2A level. As a senior, he was named Washington's 2A Player of the Year.

Utah and Oregon State were the only schools to offer him with Washington State and other schools showing minimal interest.

The Beavers were first to offer. And after visiting Corvallis and connecting with players and coaching staff, Halahuni gave Riley a call and committed.

He was the first person since 1967 from Orting Senior High to get a scholarship to a Division 1 school.

Halahuni's collegiate career was delayed as he enrolled in January of 2007 and then hurt his knee in spring practice.

Surgery on his knee slowed down his development, but the coaches saw his potential. He was explosive with the ball in his hands, while being naturally strong and athletic.

He received his first career start versus Cal in November of 2008 as the H-back, but played sparingly. He caught just one pass for three yards, but it resulted in a score against Oregon in the Civil War.

During this past offseason, Halahuni took the opportunity to get into better shape and become 100 percent healthy. He turned in stellar spring and fall camps as he become one of the quarterbacks favorite targets.

"He's been great," quarterback Sean Canfield said. "When you get a tight end that's effective and can manipulate linebackers and stuff, that's a big difference for the offense.

"He is quick and he's a load to take down too."

At the start of spring practice he told OSUBeavers.com that there were two teams he was looking forward to playing against - the Trojans and the Huskies.

A good chunk of the West Coast got to see what he could do against the No. 4 team in the nation this past weekend. Just wait until the Beavs meet Washington on Nov. 14 -- but first the Bruins and the Bears loom.

"We're definitely ready to get back out there and get a win," Halahuni said. "It was a tough loss last week and we felt like we had opportunities to win, we just didn't capitalize on them.

"We just need to have a good week at practice and come out against UCLA and get a win and play well."

How much the game plan for UCLA incorporates Halahuni into the passing attack to be seen. But even just the threat of him as a receiver, based on what he did last week, could help open up the other Beaver receivers on Saturday. Of course, it also wouldn't be an unwelcome sight to see him tearing up the turf after the catch against the Bruins either.


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