The Oregon State Beavers are looking to reload their passing attack for 2014 following the loss of Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks to the NFL. While there is still talent in the wide receiver group this fall with players like Richard Mullaney and Victor Bolden set for larger roles, the key to the passing game could be a reliable set of hands in the middle. Can tight end Connor Hamlett become a favorite target for Sean Mannion this fall?
Last season, Hamlett enjoyed a strong season, finishing fourth on the team with 40 receptions for 364 yards with five touchdowns (second most on the team). At 6-foot-7, he’s a huge target down the middle with the athleticism and soft hands to be a matchup nightmare for defenses, especially when the Beavers get in close to the endzone.
In recent years, we have seen what a good pass-catching tight end can do for a team, especially when their options on the outside are less than a sure thing. Mannion has the ability to be one of the most prolific passers in all of college football this season but has to distribute the ball a bit more this year without having Cooks to rely on. Having Hamlett step into a more prominent role will help Mannion and the Oregon State offense maintain their high-powered attack going this fall.
With enough opportunities, Connor Hamlett could emerge into one of the premier pass-catching tight ends in the country next season. His development into a featured role on the Oregon State offense could make all the difference for the Beavers in 2014.