The Oregon State Beavers will welcome back one of the nation’s most prolific passers from 2013 next season as Sean Mannion ramps up for a memorable senior campaign. While the quarterback is back in the fold for 2014, his favorite target from last season, Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks, has departed for the NFL. Oregon State has to find someone to fill his shoes next fall and there may be no better candidate than sophomore Victor Bolden.
Last season, Bolden saw limited action in the offense, recording just six receptions for 62 yards in 2013. But he showed great versatility as a playmaker in his first season in Corvallis, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts while averaged over 20 yards per kick return with one taken all the way back for a touchdown against the Washington Huskies.
That explosiveness helped Bolden find the field last season and will serve him well as he transitions into a more prominent role in the offense in 2014. He enjoyed a strong spring session and distinguished himself as the coaching staff looked for candidates to compensate for the 1,730 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns the Cooks provided the team in 2013.
Bolden will be asked to add a spark to a very young and inexperienced receiving corps. Junior Richard Mullaney is the only returning wide receiver to catch more than 10 passes last season and will be counted on to be a steady presence as he improves on his 52-reception, 788-yard, three-touchdown statline from last season.
While Mullaney is the old-hand in the huddle as far as receivers go, he’ll need help to replicate the incredible offensive production the Beavers had through the air in 2013. That’s where Bolden comes in. With his unique blend of athleticism and explosiveness, Bolden is the perfect candidate to step into the role vacated by Cooks and help the Oregon State offense keep on rolling in 2014.