The Oregon State football team prepared to take a huge hit when questions arose as to whether or not All-American punt returner Sammie Stroughter would play in the 2007 season.
He had been emotionally shaken when several loved ones of his passed away prior to the beginning of the '07 football season.
Stroughter made his return during the Cincinnati game. Two games later, while down in Tempe for the Arizona State game, he suffered a lacerated kidney.
The NCAA board then granted him a medical hardship season and granted him an extra year of eligibility.
This year Sammie is back, and the report from Corvallis is that he is looking better than ever.
He joins sophomores Darrell Catchings and James Rodgers in what seems to be one of the deepest receiving cores in the Pac-10.
The skill possessed by this year's receivers rival that of other great wideout tandems in Oregon State Football history, including Mike Hass/James Newson in 2003 and Chad Johnson/T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2001.
Sammie Stroughter will get a lot of attention from opposing Pac-10 secondaries, creating openings for Catchings and Rodgers to become open for big plays. With their speed and ability to make people miss, those 10-yard throws could turn into 40-yard touchdowns.
Lyle Moevao has made leaps and bounds during the offseason and is poised to have a breakout year. Look for the Beavers to throw the ball more this year, giving Stroughter plenty of chances to make big plays.
With a running game that will keep opposing defenses on their toes, look for Moevao to have all day to sit in the pocket and make good decisions spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, as is the custom in Mike Riley's offense.
The depth and skill at the receiver position for Oregon State is among the top in the Pac-10. Look for these guys to have a breakout season, and for Sammie Stroughter to show us all why he is one of the best in the country and deserves another All-American nod.
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