Coming out of last season, Tight End was the position Oregon St. had the most depth and quality at. So much so that the coaching staff moved Dustin Stanton to left tackle in their search to replace Michael Philipp.
After all, that still left 5 returning players plus one of the top recruits from the Beavers' latest recruiting class.
But then Hayden Craig called it a football career, after suffering multiple concussions, and that highly touted recruit, Jake Knight, announced he wasn't coming after all, opting instead to focus on track in college.
And now, one of last year's producers, who was also counted on to again make an impact this season, is also gone, as Tyler Perry has joined Craig in taking a medical retirement.
Perry, a 6'5" senior to be made 1 start last season against USC, and had 7 catches for 58 yards, plus a 2 point conversion catch from Sean Mannion. Perry played in 16 games in his Oregon St. career.
The Beavers are still in better shape at the position than most teams, with senior Connor Hamlett and juniors Caleb Smith and Kellen Clute all back. But Perry's departure definitely hurts Oregon St.'s depth, and also makes the transfer of Jacob Wark from California much more important than it initially looked like.
Stanton could move back to TE relatively easily if need be, though the issue at LT that prompted the move to begin with remains unresolved so far as well.
WR Depth Depleted Too
Depth at wide receiver has also suffered a setback, as redshirt freshman Walter Jones has left Oregon St., having requested and received his release, clearing the way for Jones to transfer to a school with a full track and field program.
Oregon St.'s secondary opportunity for football players to participate in Track & Field was a selling point in recruiting the speedy Jones from Redlands, CA, and Jones did run sprints and participate in the long jump for the Beavers during this past winter's indoor track season.
But the program is still a ways from being reinstated as a full program, and relies on the coaching staff of the still emerging women's program.
Jones' departure makes an already inexperienced position group at WR, and especially at flanker, where Jones was the backup to Victor Bolden, an even bigger question mark as Oregon St. moves into the post-Brandin Cooks era.
This especially given that Stevie Coury, who was held out of contact in spring ball while recovering from a labrum injury, but still participated in all the sessions, and was the other player listed on the spring depth chart at flanker, subsequently has also transferred, to Portland St.
JC Grim also left the program this spring, for personal reasons.
With Richard Mullaney not only the only returning starter in the WR group, and also the only player besides Bolden with meaningful minutes, one of the summer camp priorities will be sorting out not only who will play, but where, among Malik Gilmore, Hunter Jarmon, John Carroll, Kendall Hill, Blair Cavanaugh, and Jordan Villamin.
There's considerable raw talent, and some speed, in the group, but it's unproven, and finding which receivers Mannion can become comfortable with will be one of the keys to the season.
At the same time, Oregon St. is still over the 85 player scholarship limit, and so more roster moves (makes one wonder about some of the real reasons for some of the "decisions") are on the way, and not just to fill in the gaps the moves up to this point have created.