What a fall it has already been for the wide receivers.
First, there were questions of whether Darrell Catchings could fill the void of the departed Sammie Stroughter. Then he suffered a wrist injury, and was expected to be out for the season. Then, the news came that in fact the injury wasn't a fracture as originally stated. Long story short, No. 15 could be back for Oregon State's second game against UNLV.
But beyond Darrell, some other interesting things have happened in the receiving corps this season. When Darrell first went down, true-freshman Marcus Wheaton really looked like he had the wherewithal to handle being put into the spotlight so early in his career. Could he have got open as a split end against Pac-10 defensive backs as a freshman? We may never know. But definitely expect to see a lot more out of this kid as the years go on.
This is now the fifth "Fall Camp Questions" post of camp, (Linebackers, Defensive Line, Secondary, Running Back) and as I write this, I get the feeling that the post would look a lot different had I sat down to write it back on August 10, when fall camp began.
James Rodgers, OSU's stud flanker, has battled a minor knee injury (just a bruise, we hear) throughout camp and missed some practices, but it's nothing that should be long term. Everything we've heard points to both Rodgers' brothers being stronger and faster this season... as if they weren't fast enough already. Expect him to only improve this year, if he can stay injury-free, and help to fill the Sammie-void.
At slotback, we now have two players competing to be the next Shane Morales. Heading into camp, it looked like 6-2 junior Casey Kjos would be the sure-fit at slotback, but Jordan Bishop, the redshirt freshman from West Salem, is giving Kjos a run for his money. Riley seemingly dubbed Kjos as "the next Morales", and the coaches continue to be high on the Ohio native. After all, he's older and more experienced. After all, it took Morales three years after transferring from the College of the Canyons to really mature and figure things out in the slot.
To me, Jordan Bishop first seemed like another Oregon-born guy who would generate some attention as a recruit, then disappear from the map for a few years as he advanced through the program. But now, Bishop really looks like a guy who could contribute as a redshirt-freshman. Not only did he turn heads at West Salem High School, he took the 2008 Les Schwab Bowl by storm with 2 TD's on his way to being named the game's MVP. I heard some ranting and raving about Jordan last year during his redshirt year, but never expected it to amount to much until I've continued to hear great things about him the spring and fall. He has the athleticism to go up and get balls in a crowd, and has the speed to separate from defensive backs. He's definitely the flashier of the two candidates at slotback, but once he gets enough experience to know the playbook in-and-out so he can focus more on his skills-- watch out.
The depth chart at all three wide receivers has been shifting considerably in the first two weeks of fall camp. Will it change even more before OSU's September 5 opener versus Portland State?