Tight end/H-Back cupboard stocked with youth

CALEB SMITH

OREGON STATE WAS ranked in the Top 20 in both polls to finish the season and a quiet reason offensively for that was the play of the tight ends and h-backs. So what do the Beavs have in the cupboard at the position -- how does the youth stack up?

Dustin Stanton (FR 6-4, 232) / Kellen Clute (RS FR, 6-5, 250) – Roped these two together because they are essentially the same player right now. Stanton and Clute both have above average speed, below average blocking ability (at the moment), and show signs that they are still learning some of the basics under the tutelage of Jay Locey.

Riley was beaming over his tight ends toward the end of the bowl practices, though, a far cry from his attitude toward them earlier this fall. It's not easy to make Riley mad, but I tell you, the tight ends seemed capable of pulling it off.

Clute stood out the most to me this past year.

Tyler Perry (SO 6-5, 256) – For a while, I had Perry pegged as the guy to fill the void left by the graduating Colby Prince in 2013. But now that Hamlett has surpassed Perry (and arguably, Prince) as a tight end talent, I see Perry's role changing.

Perry is one of the better blocking tight ends that Locey/Riley have available to them right now, and that could be very useful moving forward and influece the H-Back spot. But Perry has struggled with staying healthy, and could afford to get in better football shape if he wants to fight for a job.

Caleb Smith (FR, 6-6, 264) At the head of the pack for the H-back slot once Connor Hamlett slides into starting tight end slot, perhaps? Or is he in line to fight it out for the No. 1 tight end?

Smith is a surprisingly fast tight end given his size and his hands have improved dramatically since the fall. He is a powerful athlete, and has a competitive streak that got him some playing time in 2012.

Riley likes Smith a lot – his name was mentioned frequently by the head man when the topic of the tight end corps was addressed during the fall and Texas prep work.

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