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Beaver Football Review: Wide Receiver & Tight End


This is part 3 of Building the Dam’s recap of the 2023 football season and status of the 2024 roster. Prior entries can be found here.

Part 1: Offense and Quarterbacks

Part 2: Running Backs & Offensive Line

Wide Receiver: Silas Bolden (569), Anthony Gould (519), Jesiah Irish (333), Rweha Munyagi Jr. (222), Jimmy Vaslin III (167), Jeremiah Noga (120), Trent Walker (91), Zachary Card (50), Jamai East (15), David Wells Jr. (8), Trevor Pope (7), Montrel Hatten Jr. (2)

2023 Recap

There was a clear pecking order in the Oregon State wide receiver depth chart. Bolden and Gould both topped 700 yards receiving, with Bolden leading the team in targets with 86. Both played remarkably similar games (2.45 vs 2.52 yards per route run, 5.1 vs 5.4 yards after the catch per reception) which led to issues when an opposing defense was able to take their routes out of the equation. Each had a single 100-yard game (Bolden against Utah, Gould against Cal), but routinely had 5-10 targets and were targeted 10-15 yards downfield.

Irish was the predominant slot receiver and was the only other receiver to have more than 12 targets over the course of the year. Both Munyagi and Vaslin saw consistent part-time duty, but those snaps did not turn into a particularly high target share.

2024 Forecast

Incoming Transfers: Darrius Clemons (Michigan, 79 snaps)

Other Players on Roster: Joel Valadez (Jr), Walker Riney (R-So), Trevor Pope (R-So), Jailen Holmes (So), Jai Lambert (R-Fr), Tastean Reddicks (Fr)

Recruits: Jordan Anderson (4 Stars), Malachi Durant (3 Stars), Eddie Freauff (3 Stars)

With Bolden headed to Texas, Gould headed for the NFL draft, and Irish & Munyagi out of eligibility, the Beavers will be starting fresh at the wide receiver position in 2024. With no incoming transfers OSU will be looking for a lot of development from the current receiver room to spearhead 2024.

Valsin led the returning wide receivers in targets with 12 on the season, primarily lining up on the outside. Munyagi was a deep threat in limited action, with an average depth of target of 17.4 yards and is another outside option to keep an eye on. Card saw significant snaps in the first two games against San Jose State and UC Davis before being shut down for a redshirt season. He will likely be in the mix for playing time next year. Noga spent more time in the slot than anyone other WR than Irish last year, that’s a position he can spend more time in next year. Tastean Reddicks, Montrel Hatten, David Wells, and Trevor Pope are a few other names to keep an eye on in fall camp. All four had some notoriety as recruits and can step up going into next year.

Clemons is a former 4-star recruit who has seen limited snaps in his two years at Michigan. He returns to his home state with an opportunity to make an immediate impact. His 6’3” frame brings a different dimension to the Beaver passing attack. Anderson flipped his commitment from Oregon late in the recruiting period and will likely have an opportunity to make an immediate impact on the field for the Beavers.

Tight End: Jack Velling (584), Jermaine Terry II (394), Riley Sharp (136), Jake Overman (54), Bryce Caufield (34), Gabe Milbourn (27), Carter Neuman (10)

2023 Recap

The Beavers had talented WR but lacked a big body on the outside. They made up for that with Velling, who lined up in the slot on 42% of his snaps. The trio of Bolden, Gould, and Velling accounted for 60% of targets and receiving yards. Velling went on a hot streak during a three-game stretch against Cal, UCLA, and Arizona, racking up 12 catches for 192 yards and 6 TDs. In his other 8 games Velling had 17 catches, 246 yards and 2 TDs. That included near silent performances in the two biggest games of the year against Washington and Cal (4 targets, 2 catches, 20 yards).

Velling was the primary receiving threat, but Terry got plenty of reps and was primarily used as a run blocker. Overman was seeing some snaps in the first 4 games before deciding to transfer, and Sharp took over the role as third tight end (good for ~8 snaps per game).

2024 Forecast

Incoming Transfers: N/A

Other Players on Roster: Malik Kelley (R-So), Cooper Jensen (Fr)

Recruits: N/A

Former tight end coach Brian Wozniak followed Smith to Michigan State. It’s a significant loss considering his responsibility for developing both Velling & Luke Musgrave (and no surprise that Velling is following his former position coach to Michigan State). With that said, it will be interesting to see how the tight end position is used in Gunderson’s offense going forward and whether it has the same focal point as it has the past few years (for reference, the leading TE for UCLA had 25 targets in 2023).

Regardless, there is enough depth and experience at the position to build on in 2024. Terry has never been a prolific receiving threat but has caught the ball when thrown his way. Caufield saw significant action in the bowl game, and Jensen is another one to keep an eye on.