OSU FALL FOCUS: Receivers/Tight Ends

WITH ALL A new QB running the show in Corvallis, at least one thing is for certain - Ryan Katz has plenty of weapons to throw to Saturdays this fall. From James Rodgers to Markus Wheaton to Joe Halahuni and beyond the WR and TE groups are full of talented, experienced playmakers. But who else should Beaver fans keep an eye out for, and what all needs to happen for OSU to achieve air supremacy?

DEPTH CHART
SE
: So. Markus Wheaton, Jr. Darrell Catchings, So. Geno Munoz, Fr. Obum Gwacham
SL: So. Jordan Bishop, Sr. Aaron Nichols, So. Kevan Walker, RFr. Mitch Singler
TE: Jr. Joe Halahuni, So. Colby Prince
H-BACK: Sr. Brady Camp, Sr. John Reese
FL: Sr. James Rodgers, RFr. Micah Hatfield, RFr. Garett Hall, Fr. Kevin Cummings

PLAYERS LOSTDamola Adeniji (57 catches for 807 yards, five touchdowns), Casey Kjos (9 catches for 88 yards, one touchdown), Taylor Kavanaugh (no receptions), Howard Croom (one catch for four yards),

INJURIES: None

OVERVIEW: One of the best all around receivers in college football - check. A burner who can stretch the field - check. An athletic leaper - check. A bruising, athletic tight end - check. The 2010 receivers feature some of the most versatile, and talented, players to ever put on the orange and black.

Senior James Rodgers can do it all and is one of the best in the nation. Sophomore Markus Wheaton has tremendous speed and can stretch the field. Sophomore Jordan Bishop is one of the better leapers in the Pac-10. Junior Joe Halahuni has set himself up for a monster junior year. And the list goes on and on.

Add Darrell Catchings, John Reese, Brady Camp and Aaron Nichols to mix and the Beavers are almost two deep at every position.

One of the most important tasks in the spring was for the receivers to start developing a rapport with the new quarterback. Consider that task well on its way to being completed.

Sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz had no problem finding Wheaton and Rodgers numerous times for big plays down the sidelines. He also looked Bishop's way regularly as the two formed a solid bond.


DID YOU KNOW: Rodgers 91 catches in 2009 is a single season school record.


For all intensive purposes it wouldn't matter who was under center with Rodgers running routes. He is one of the premier receivers in the nation - and one of the most versatile.

The 5-foot-7 player's 5,077 career all-purpose yards are the most out of any active player entering 2010. He needs just 530 all-purpose yards to become the school's all-time leader - a feat he has the capability of accomplishing two to three games into the season.

Not only can Rodgers kill a team with his receiving and running, he can also do it with his hands. The co-team captain relishes the blocking battles with the defensive backs and despite being outsized holds his own very well.

While Rodgers has the ability to stretch the field it is his precise route running and solid hands that will require double teams. That will leave burner Wheaton, who is chomping at the bit to make his mark, open to single coverage.

Wheaton played sparingly as a true freshman logging eight catches for 89 yards and 11 carries for 84 yards and one touchdown after being slowed down by the NCAA Clearing House in the fall. With that finally settled and Wheaton comfortable in the system his role with the offense will expand greatly.

Not only will the coaches use his speed to stretch the field, they will also use his wheels on reverses and fly sweeps. Even a double reverse or fly sweep with James is not out of the question.

Under Riley the Beavers have never had such an athlete as Bishop in the slot. It is safe to say that he can go up and grab anything as he earned All-American status in the high jump despite not practicing regularly.

Rounding out the starting receiving group is Halahuni who had one of the most surprising seasons a year go. He hauled in 35 catches for 486 yards and three touchdowns.

Super athletic and tough to boot Halahuni punishes his opponents by looking for someone to hit after he has the ball, but has the finesse to slip a tackle.

While the starting four look outstanding, the backups aren't bad either.

Junior Darrell Cathings started the spring as the starting split end, but was quickly passed up by Wheaton. Since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes Catchings has had a difficult time keeping on weight and staying in playing shape.

The recently schoarshiped Aaron Nichols backs up Bishop in the slot. With glue for hands and a knack for finding the gaps in the defense Nichols will receive plenty of playing time.

One player that the coaches are waiting on to step up is sophomore Geno Munoz. He starred on the scout team in 2008 and was slowed down by a hip injury late in 2009.

Since Catchings is struggling to keep weight on Munoz is the top candidate for playing time behind Wheaton at split end and possibly flanker.

Redshirt freshman Micah Hatfield is listed as the backup at flanker, but he missed all of 2009 with a broken leg and at 170 pounds he needs to add 10-15 pounds before playing regularly.

Freshman Kevin Cummings and Obum Gwacham, both grayshirts who enrolled in January of 2010, both performed well after sitting out football for a year.

They picked up things quickly, but will redshirt and compete for the two deeps in 2011.

Since depth is a concern the coaches are bringing in junior college transfer Brett Ackerman on a financial aide package. The Los Angeles Valley product stands at 6-foot-5, 200-pounds and has been working hard in the summer to add some weight.

The coaches told him he is going to lineup in the slot behind Bishop.

That suggests that there will be some movement on the depth chart in the fall. The most likely scenario is Nichols moving to backup flanker since he has experience there. Another scenario would move sophomore Kevan Walker to the outside.

At a beefy 197-pounds he definitely has the body suited to the inside, but he also has speed that the coaches absolutely love. Plus, when he made the switch from cornerback to receiver in 2008 he lined up at split end.

One athlete to keep your eyes on is redshirt freshman Mitch Singler. The walk on just knows how to get open as he caught three touchdowns from Jack Lomax in the spring game. Singler will be a factor - it is just a matter of time before he gets his shot.

With all the standout athletes at receiver it is even more important to have that grinder that does the little things to keep the offense moving. That player is senior tight end Brady Camp.

Primarily used as a blocker Camp is an Oregon product who takes pride in the dirty work. But teams can't nap on him either as he has snagged two touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.

Other players at tight end include senior John Reese, who redshirted last season so he could play more this year, and sophomore Colby Prince, an explosive youngster with a big upside.

STATSJames Rodgers (91 receptions for 1,034 yards, nine touchdowns), Jordan Bishop (13 catches for 156 yards, one touchdown), Aaron Nichols (11 catches for 176 yards, one touchdown), Markus Wheaton (8 catches for 89 yards), Kevan Walker (one catch for 16 yards), Joe Halahuni (35 catches for 486 yards, three touchdowns), Brady Camp (5 catches for 40 yards, two touchdowns), Colby Prince (one catch for 12 yards)

 

THE ROSTER

SPRING STAR So. Markus Wheaton and So. Jordan Bishop.  Both were targeted by Katz often and both got open regularly.
THE FUTURE STAR So. Markus Wheaton.  A burner who makes defenses sweat.
WHO TO WATCH Jr. Darrell Cathings.  Can he return to his true freshman form?
COMING IN THE FALL TE Tyler Perry. An aggressive player who isn't afraid to mix it up | WR Brett Ackerman. Tall junior college transfer with four to play three, will lineup in the slot.
UNIT STRENGTH UNIT WEAKNESS
Versatility. The receiving group has it all speed, athleticism, and discipline. Depth at flanker and split end. With Catchings struggling to keep weight on and Munoz unproven there is some concern on the outside if a starter goes down.

 

THE BIG BOARD

WR:

So. Markus Wheaton (6-0, 178) - got behind the defense regularly...dangerous in open space...coaches want to get him 8-10 touches a game...competed in the UW Last Chance Meet in the 60-meter dash checking in at 6.82 - the fastest time by a football player this year...one of eight true freshman to play in 2009...one start...slowed down due to clearing house issues in fall of 2009...caught eight passes for 89 yards; carried the ball 11 times for 84 yards and one touchdown...excellent change of direction...a natural athlete...Riley compares Wheaton to former USC star R. Jay Soward...added 13 pounds since arriving on campus

Jr. Darrell Catchings (5-11, 164) - struggling to keep on weight after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes...10 career starts...played in just two games last year grabbing two passes for 24 yards...slowed down with a high ankle sprain and wrist injury in fall camp of 2009...granted an extra year of eligibility in March of 2010...needs to add 10 or so pounds to get to playing weight

So. Geno Munoz (6-0, 193) - a solid performer on the scout team in 2008...coaches are waiting for him to step up...did not record a catch last year

Fr. Obum Gwacham (6-5, 218) - set to redshirt...growing by leaps and bounds...very coachable...competed in the UW Last Chance Meet in March clearing 7' 1 1/2" becoming the ninth Beaver to clear 7', also participated in the Husky Indoor Classic...a grayshirt who enrolled in Jan. of 2010...expected to redshirt, but could see time on the edge to block PATs and field goals...already added 11 pounds

 

SL:

So. Jordan Bishop (6-3, 199) - four starts...ridiculously athletic....a big target who isn't afraid to go across the middle...an All-American in the high jump....competed in the Husky Indoor Classic in February clearing 7' 1/2" becoming the eighth Beaver to clear 7', also participated in the UW Last Chance Meet...could have a breakout year...caught 14 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown in 2009

Sr. Aaron Nichols (6-0, 185) - awarded a scholarship before 2010 spring practice...catches everything thrown his way...a disciplined route runner...caught 11 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown in 2009

So. Kevan Walker (6-0, 200) - practicing with the men's track team, but hasn't competed in a track event yet...with Casey Kjos quitting football Walker jumped into the two deeps in 2009...expected to make an impact in his third year in the system...one catch for 16 yards in 2009...a versatile athlete who worked out with the cornerbacks as a freshman...moved from cornerback to receiver in 2008

RFr. Mitch Singler (6-2, 196) - caught three touchdowns in the 2010 spring game...smart player with reliable hands...walked on and redshirted in 2009...he will play before its over, Riley says

 

TE:

Sr. John Reese (6-3, 247) - graduated in Dec. of 2009 with a degree in speech communication...has yet to realize his potential, but is poised to have a breakout season after redshirting in 2009....10 career catches for 109 yards...lines up at H-back

Sr. Brady Camp (6-4, 265) - 18 starts, 14 straight...one of the better blockers on the team...a big target in the red zone...loves to get down and dirty...one of the more underrated players on the squad...snagged five passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns in 2009

Jr. Joe Halahuni (6-2, 252) - two starts...great hands and athleticism..26 passes caught in the last seven games...nine catches at USC is the most ever by an OSU tight end...surpassed the 100-yard mark twice - a feat former Beaver great Joe Newton never accomplished...grabbed 35 passes for 486 yards and three touchdowns...naturally strong and athletic...runs with authority, after the catch he is looking to punish a defender...lines up at H-back

So. Colby Prince (6-3 ,265) - long, athletic and rangy...turned in a great fall practice in 2009...will be in the rotation...good speed...has added 17 pounds since coming to Corvallis

 

WR:

Sr. James Rodgers (5-7, 188) - given Lunch Bucket Award after 2009 season, given annually to the player(s) who demonstrate outstanding work ethic...competed in the Husky Indoor Classic and the UW Last Chance meet running in the 60-meter dash posting top 20 times...first team all-Pac-10 pick in 2010...has started in 26 games, 13 straight...ranked first in the Pac-10 and seventh in the nation at 179.1 all-purpose yards per game...school record holder for single season all-purpose yards with 2,328...had a school record 303 all-purposed yards against Oregon in 2009...led the Pac-10 in receptions for game (7.0)...set a school record for receptions in a season with 91...second Beaver in school history to amass 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in his career...second team Associated Press All-American all-purpose player...second player in school history to accumulate 5,000 all-purpose yards

RFr. Micah Hatfield (6-0, 162) - Riley confident he will contribute, but down the road...still needs to add 20 pounds before seeing the field...broke his leg in October of 2009...has added 10 pounds since arriving on campus, but needs to 10-15 more pounds

RFr. Garett Hall (5-8, 198) - the next Taylor Kavanaugh according to Riley...walked on last year and redshirted...also a talented baseball player at Olympia High

Fr. Kevin Cummings (6-0, 168) - set to redshirt...picking up things quickly...grayshirt who enrolled in Jan. of 2010...played for USA Football's 2009 Junior National Team earning a gold medal...high school teammate of current Beavers Ryan Katz and Cameron Collins


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