With Noah Togiai only able to play in five games last season and a young and inexperienced group, there wasn’t much production out of the tight end position last season for the Oregon State football team.
The Beavers had just 20 receptions by the tight ends for 208 yards and three touchdowns.
Those numbers should go up with Togiai, a redshirt senior, feeling the healthiest he has in quite some time and as strong as ever during his time at Oregon State.
“I just think he’s real confident right now and he again feels comfortable with the system and what we’re trying to do and we’ve implemented some concepts now that he’s 100 percent healthy that are featuring the tight end position in the pass game,” offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said. “I think he’s been excited about that and him and (quarterback) Jake (Luton) seem to have a real good timing and so it’s been fun to watch him. But I think the biggest thing is just his confidence in the system and what we’re doing with him.”
In addition to Togiai being back and healthy, true sophomores Isaiah Smalls (8 catches, 118 yards) and Teagan Quitoriano (2-13) have a year under their belts after being thrown to the wolves early last season thanks to the injury to Togiai, and the retirement of Tuli Wily-Matagi a couple days into camp.
“They get it,” tight ends coach Brian Wozniak said. “They understand what we’re trying to do and they see the bigger picture a little bit. Early on those guys were … just trying to keep their head above water and now they can process a little bit quicker, it’s a little bit second nature to them. You’re seeing Teagan be able to impose his force a little bit. You’re seeing Smalls being able to be his crafty self in the route game because they are understanding the big picture.”
Luke Musgrave, a freshman from Bend, has also been impressive in training camp and could find his way onto the field this season.
Wozniak said Musgrave still has plenty of room to grow but is working hard each day and wants to learn.
“He’s going to make some plays,” Wozniak said. “He’s got the athleticism to do that, especially in the pass game.”
Lindgren said he likes the 6-foot-6, 236-pounder’s route running and ability to stretch the field in the pass game.
“He’s shown up in multiple practices of getting down the field and making a big catch for us in third-down situations, so really excited about him,” Lindgren said. “He just needs to continue to get a lot of reps and continue to get comfortable with what we’re doing.”
Wozniak said one thing he can take away from having to get youngsters up to speed early last year is to give them an opportunity to learn and grow in a positive environment.
“I think the big thing is and kind of with Luke is you just have to teach them as hard as you can and then also you’ve got to throw him in the fire a little bit, see how they do, see how they process it, see what mistakes they make and you’ve got to let them know, hey you’re going to make mistakes, you don’t know everything, but play fast and play hard and whatever happens we’ll be able to coach it off the film,” he said.
Togiai has also made sure to offer his advice and knowledge to the youngsters and enjoys taking time after practice to work with them.
“I know that feeling of being lost out there on the field and having the pressure of the coaches trying to make sure you know what you’re doing,” he said. “The most exciting part for me is to watch them improve every day. Seeing them mess up on one thing one day and us talking about it after and working on it after practice and the next day seeing them do what we worked on after practice.”
Togiai said the tight end group is as good as he has seen in his five seasons with the Beavers, and he’s thinks they can all make an impact in one way or another.
“I see a lot of different skillsets, I see a lot of different personalities, I see a lot of hard-working guys,” he said. “We’ve got a ton of talent in there that I’m excited to see out on the field this year. I think we can have five, six tight ends playing this year. That’s something I’m excited to see but something we have to work towards in camp.”
Lindgren said he likes the versatility of the group and how that will allow the Beavers to provide more and varied looks to their formations.
“Some of those guys can flex out, they don’t always have to be attached to the formation and that makes it fun for our offensive staff to be able to come up with some things that are going to give the defenses some issues,” he said.
While the Beavers could certainly use more production out of the position as a whole this season, Wozniak said first and foremost he wants his group to take care of its responsibility at the line of scrimmage in the run game and pass protection.
“Handle the front seven first and bide our time and go make plays when we’re asked to make plays in the pass game,” he said of his expectations. “I think it can be a really good group. We’re going to continue to build on it. We’re nowhere near where we want to be but I think it can be a fun group this year.”
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Oregon State receiver Tyjon Lindsey
Oregon State running back Artavis Pierce
Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson
Oregon State running back Kase Rogers
Oregon State running back Ta'Ron Madison.
Oregon State's Ta'Ron Madison
Oregon State wide receiver Job Dockery.
Oregon State's Cam Stoudamire catches a ball during practice.
Oregon State quaterbacvk Jake Luton
Oregon State's Andre Bodden
Oregon State receiver I'Shawn Stewart
Oregon State receiver Jesiah Irish
Oregon State receiver Kolby Taylor
Oregon State receiver Kolby Taylor
Oregon State receiver Rweah Munyagi Jr.
Oregon State receiver Trevon Bradford swings to music from the Zac Brown band during warm-ups before practice.
Oregon State's Matthew Tago
Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith
Oregon State kicker Jordan Choukair said he welcomes the competition this fall for the starting spot.
Oregon State linebacker Cade Brownholtz
Oregon State lineman Keishon Dawkins
Oregon State freshman punter Jeffrey Nelson
Oregon State punter Luke Loecher
Oregon State quarterback Aidan Willard
Oregon State quarterback Jackson Chryst
Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton
Head Coach Jonathan Smith attempts to knock a ball out of quarterback Jake Luton's hands during a drill.
Oregon State quarterback Nick Moore throws in front teammate Jackson Chryst.
Oregon State quarterback Tristan Gebbia throws in front of Beaver quaterbacks Jake Lutton, Jackson Chryst (9) and Nick Moore (7).
Head Coach Jonathan Smith attempts to knock a ball out of quarterback Tristan Gebbia's hands during a drill.
Oregon State quaterback Aidan Willard
Oregon State quaterback Nick Moore throws in front of quaterback Tristan Gebbia.
Oregon State quaterback Tristan Gebbia
Oregon State receiver Trevon Bradford was third on the team with 56 catches for 649 yards and six touchdowns. He has a close relationship with Hodgins on and off the field.
Oregon State's Jesiah Irish catches a pass during practice.
Oregon State tight end Noah Togiai
Oregon State tight end Noah Togiai
Oregon State's Andre Bodden catches a pass during practice.
Isaiah Hodgins led Oregon State last season with 59 receptions for 876 yards and five touchdowns.
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Our (unofficial) Oregon State all-time football team is based mainly on players’ college careers, not their achievements in the professional ranks. As such, All-American awards were the main factor at most positions.
Every “starter” for the offense, for example, was a first-team selection by a major media publication, company or group.
The offense lines up in a three-wide receiver, two-back set due to our criteria. No tight end has ever made an All-American list for the Beavers.
For the defense, we briefly considered going with an archaic 5-2 formation to take advantage of the quality linemen Oregon State has produced, but then settled on that scheme’s successor, the 4-3.
Some of these choices for our star-studded squad will result in debate, of course, which is the nature of these lists.
We recognize that players are getting faster, stronger and more technical with every generation, but our criteria negates some of the arguments against using athletes from earlier eras.
We also acknowledge that if we had to pick one player at the peak of his powers for one game only, a few of our starters might be different.
There’s no doubt, however, that the athletes “on the bench” are gridiron heroes, as well. And some of them still come to Oregon State University games to root for the Beavers.
Quarterback – Terry Baker
Quarterback is, thanks to some prestigious hardware, the easiest decision on this Oregon State all-star squad.
Baker won the 1962 Heisman Trophy, and was honored as a first team All-American as well as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.
He led the Beavers to a Liberty Bowl victory over Villanova to cap the ’62 season, and that game featured his 99-yard run – an NCAA record that can’t be topped.
Baker, the first man from the West Coast to win the Heisman, also played basketball for the Beavers, and helped Oregon State to the Final Four in 1963.
He remains the only man to win the Heisman and play in the Final Four.
The greatest quarterback in Oregon State history also is one of only two Beaver players in the National College Football Hall of Fame. The other is a ball carrier who reportedly made the ground shake.
Jonathan Smith – Well, Smith isn’t going to make it on this team as a coach. (At least not yet, Beaver Believers!) So we’ll give the former walk-on a nod for helping return Oregon State to winning ways after decades as a doormat. He became an every week quarterback against Washington in late October 1998, after replacing the injured starter – and then threw for 469 yards in less than three quarters. The 2001 Fiesta Bowl MVP helped wallop fabled Notre Dame and he currently is No. 3 for career passing yards and touchdowns in Oregon State history.
Howard Maple – Knute Rockne, of all people, called Maple “the ideal quarterback.” Maple was a second team All-American in 1928 as a senior. He went on to play in both the NFL and in Major League Baseball.
Derek Anderson – Anderson had a big arm, a big frame and could chuck the ball. “It was a beautiful thing to watch the way he throws,” former OSU coach Mike Riley said. Anderson sits second on Oregon State’s list of career passing yards and career touchdowns.
Sean Canfield – An honorable mention All-American in 2009, Canfield was Oregon State’s first-ever Pac-10 first team quarterback. He had a school record completion percentage of 67.9 percent as a senior.
Sean Mannion – Mannion is the career leader for the Beavers for passing yards (13,600), completions (1,187), and touchdowns (83).
Wide receiver – Mike Hass
It’s pronounced Hass, as in, “Go grab that pass.”
Hass was known for acrobatic catches – battling for jump balls or making Lynn Swann-esque dives to haul in long bombs.
He won the Biletnikoff Award as the NCAA’s best receiver in 2005. Hass was a unanimous first team All-American that year, when had a then-school record 90 receptions and 1,532 receiving yards.
He was a third-team All-American in 2004, when he set the current school record with 293 receiving yards in a game versus Boise State.
Hass still holds OSU records, such as career yards receiving (3,924), 100-yard games (19) and receptions in a game (14).
But perhaps the most astounding fact about Hass’ storied career is that he came to Oregon State as a walk-on.
Wide receiver – Brandin Cooks
Perhaps no other wide receiver in program history had the same ability to turn a short pass into a long touchdown.
Cooks was lightning fast but still able to fight for passes in the air, and he was a consensus first team All-American in 2013.
He won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver that year, when he set Pac-12 records for receptions, with 128, and receiving yards, with 1,730. He also tied Hass’ record for most receptions in a game, with 14.
Cooks is still making explosive plays in the NFL, where he currently suits up for the Los Angeles Rams alongside another Oregon State all-time all-star, Johnny Hekker.
Wide receiver – Verne Burke
Someone had to grab all those passes Terry Baker threw, and it’s a good thing for Beaver fans that Verne Burke was on the team.
In 1962, Burke caught 69 passes for 1,007 yards, both NCAA records at the time. He was named a consensus All-American in 1963.
Markus Wheaton – In 2012, Wheaton, pictured above, set Oregon State’s career receiving record with 227 catches, which still stands, and tied the single season record of 91 receptions, which has since been surpassed. Wheaton was a third-team All-American that year. He’s still third all-time in school history with 2,594 receiving yards.
Steve Coury – Coury earned a third team All-American nod in his senior season, 1979. He left Oregon State with then school records for receiving yards (1,837) and receptions (135).
Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Robert Prescott – The 2000 Oregon State team had a deadly trio of wide receivers, two of whom would go on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. Of course Ocho Cinco and Housh are on the team in some form or another. But don’t forget about Prescott, who was a key playmaker, too.
This bruiser, nicknamed “Earthquake” was a first team All-American in 1968, when he also was the MVP of the all-star Hula Bowl.
Known for his punishing running style, Enyart still holds the OSU record for rushing yards in a game with 299 against Utah in 1968.
Sports Illustrated described Enyart in 1967 as a “230-pound former linebacker who defected into the ranks of line buster.” John Didion, his Beaver teammate and an All-American lineman, was only 10 pounds heavier, according to the magazine.
Enyart is one of two Oregon State players in the National College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana. The other Beaver star in the hall is Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker.
Running back – Ken Simonton
Simonton, a first team All-American in 2000, left Oregon State holding 11 rushing records. That includes a career-high 5,044 rushing yards, good for second in the Pac-10 at the time.
Cerebral and outspoken off the field, this running back stood only 5-foot-7 and wasn’t super fast, but he was a fierce competitor who knew how to be patient with his blocks.
And he was Oregon State’s biggest football star in decades – Beaver fans hadn’t seen a winning season in decades until 1998, the same year Simonton scored the winning touchdown in OSU’s 44-41 victory in the Civil War.
Simonton also was perhaps the best offensive player on the best Beavers team ever in 2000. Regardless, there are plenty of reasons why Simonton holds a special place in many fans’ hearts.
“Because of the impact he had with the reemergence of Oregon State football, I thought that they would build a statue of him in front of the stadium,” said Mike Riley, former OSU head coach, in 2010.
Simonton still holds OSU’s career rushing marks for yards (5,044) and touchdowns (59).
Steven Jackson – Perhaps the most difficult omission from our "starting lineup." Jackson, pictured above, could run with speed and power and catch passes out of the backfield. He was a third team All-American as both a sophomore in 2002 and as a junior in 2003. And in the pros, Jackson has had the most success of any former Oregon State running back. Some believe he may be the best Beaver football player ever, regardless of era or awards. We won’t argue with them much.
George “Gap” Powell – Powell was a first team All-American in 1921. He lettered in both football and track for what became Oregon State University from 1918 to 1921.
Jacquizz Rodgers – The diminutive but stout running back used his size to his advantage, hiding behind the offensive line or stopping on a dime to deke defenders. Check out the game tape from Sept. 25, 1998 if you doubt his skills. He ran over, through and around No. 1-ranked Southern California in a nationally televised game. The Quizz Show burst on the scene that season, when he was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and a third team All-American – as a freshman. In 2009, Rodgers earned second team All-American status. He’s currently the OSU record holder for career receptions by a running back, with 151.
Red Franklin – Franklin was a first team All-American in 1933. He also returned kicks.
Herb Abraham – Oregon State’s first All-American, he made the first team in 1916.
The Possum – One rush, end zone to end zone – south to north in Reser Stadium, the roars of the crowd getting louder with every yard. The unlikely star of a victory over Southern California in 2000.
(Pictured above, Andy Levitre, right, and Roy Schuening block for Beaver quarterback Matt Moore during the 2006 season.)
Bill Gray – The military interrupted Gray’s playing career. He was part of Oregon State’s freshman squad in 1942, but after Pearl Harbor, he played for Southern California while awaiting his orders and earned honorable mention All-American honors. After World War II, Gray returned to Oregon State, and he was a first team All-American in 1946.
John Witte – Witte was a consensus All-American in 1955 and a first-team All-American in 1956. He was Oregon State’s first two-time first-teamer. Witte, who played in the 1957 Rose Bowl versus Iowa, also wrestled for the Beavers and placed second in the NCAA championships at heavyweight in 1952.
John Didion – This center earned consensus All-American awards in 1968, his senior year. The previous season, he was a second team All-American.
Roy Schuening – The Pendleton High School product started a record 50 games for Oregon State, all of them consecutive. He earned first team All-American status in 2007.
Andy Levitre – Levitre was known for his technique, and he was a first-team All-American in 2008.
Jim Dixon – You might recognize the last name, as Dixon Recreation Center on campus is named after him. Dixon was named an All-American as a senior in 1926. He also was an assistant football coach for Oregon State from 1933-51.
Ade Schwammel – He was a key member of Oregon State’s pyramid play used to block field goals. Schwammel, a first team All-American in 1933, played both offensive and defensive tackle for the Beavers.
Vic Sears – Sears was a first team All-American in 1940. He played 10 years with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ted Bates – Bates, who played in the 1957 Rose Bowl, was a first team All-American in 1958.
By historical standards, tight end easily is Oregon State’s weakest position. Again, no Oregon State tight end has made an All-American team, and only one man, listed here, was first-team Pac-8, Pac-10 or Pac-12. Because of this, we felt comfortable taking a major liberty in the name of liberty for our all-star squad’s “bench.”
Jack Yoshihara – This Japanese American student wasn’t allowed to play in the 1942 Rose Bowl after the attack on Pearl Harbor. “They told me I couldn’t travel more than 35 miles,” he told the Gazette-Times in 2008. Months after the Rose Bowl, in spring 1942, the 20-year-old sophomore was uprooted from Corvallis and sent to an internment camp. He never resumed his studies. “It was tough. … I just forgot about it. It was such a sad phase for me,” Yoshihara said. Because we shouldn’t forget Yoshihara’s struggle – and the similar sorts of everyday tragedies inflicted on Oregonians by our own government at the time – he is forever on this team.
In the 2008 photo above, Japanese-American Student Association member Kristen Atebara helps Yoshihara with his cap and gown before OSU's commencement, where he received an honorary degree.
Tim Euhus – Euhus was a potent pass catcher who could also block, and he was a first team Pac-10 selection during his senior year, in 2003. Besides playing in three bowl games for the Beavers, Euhus also suited up and hit the hardwood, playing basketball for one season at Oregon State.
Phil Ross – During the 1980s, Ross was one of the Beavers’ best weapons. He played in 1985 and from 1987-89, and holds OSU’s career record for receptions as a tight end, with 153. That’s good for eighth place among career receptions for all Beaver pass catchers.
Defensive tackle – Jess Lewis
For many Beaver fans, one play defines Lewis and the Giant Killers – his tracking down O.J. Simpson and making a game-saving tackle as Oregon State beat top-ranked Southern California 3-0 in 1967. Lewis, a tackle, was a first team All-American that year and also was a two-time first team Pac-8 player.
But Lewis was an even better wrestler than a football player. A pinning monster, he won two NCAA titles at heavyweight and competed in the Olympics.
He’s also on our unofficial Oregon State all-time wrestling team, of course.
Lewis might just be the best multi-sport athlete ever for the Beavers, and he’s also been an inspirational voice for those fighting substance abuse.
Plus, as a bonus, he was working for OSU during the famed possum game, and of course Lewis was the man to wrangle the mighty marsupial.
Defensive tackle – Stephen Paea
This massive run-stuffing tackle was a first team All-American in 2010, his senior season, when he was also named the Pac-10 Conference’s Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year.
Paea also was the Pac-10’s Morris Trophy award winner for the best defensive lineman in the league in both 2009 and 2010.
Inoke Breckterfield – This defensive end, pictured above, was a third team All-American in 1998, when he was first team All-Pac-10 and won the conference’s Morris Trophy for the league’s top defensive lineman. The native of Honolulu ended his career as the school’s all-time leader for sacks (19.5) and tackles for loss (55.5).
DeLawrence Grant – Grant, a defensive end, was a second team All-American in 2000, when he also was a first team All-Pac-10 selection. He’s considered one of the fastest defensive linemen ever for Oregon State. He holds the program record for most forced fumbles in a game, with three.
Other defensive linemen on the team
Scott Crichton – A defensive end, Crichton, pictured above hitting Jared Goff, earned honorable mention All-American nods in both 2012 and 2013. His 10 forced fumbles are an Oregon State record.
Jon Sandstrom – This first team All-American, in 1967, played on the defensive line for the famed Giant Killers. Sandstrom was a three-year starter for the Beavs, and in 1968, he was named the team MVP.
Craig Hanneman – Selected as a second team All-American in 1970, Hanneman went on to play in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.
Bill Swancutt – This defensive tackle was first team All-Pac-12 in 2004, when he also was the co-defensive MVP of the league. The school record holder for career sacks (37) and tackles for loss (59.5).
Steve Brown – Brown was a first team All-American in 1972, when he had a school record 186 tackles. That’s 42 more than the man in second place.
He had a whopping 22 tackles, tied for a school record, in a 1971 game versus Stanford.
And he also holds the Oregon State record for career tackles with 415.
Brown, who initially came to Oregon State as a fullback before moving to the defense as a freshman, was a two-time first team All-Pac-8 selection.
Jack O'Billovich – This linebacker, pictured above, was a first team All-American as a junior, in 1964, and he helped the Beavers to the 1965 Rose Bowl. In 1965, O’Billovich was a first team All-Pac-8.
Richard Seigler – The Las Vegas native was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection in 2002 and 2003, and earned an honorable mention All-American nod in 2003.
Seigler also was a freshman All-American in 2000, when he helped the Beavers to a Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame and their best season ever.
Against Arizona State in 2001, Seigler had seven tackles for loss, which still stands as an Oregon State record.