USC Trojans: Austin Hooper

Spring position breakdowns: TE

February, 28, 2014
Our look at position groups in the Pac-12 continues.

Arizona: Terrence Miller was listed on the team's depth chart as a tight end, but he wasn't a traditional tight end. After catching 40 passes for 467 yards in 2013, he's out of eligibility. Former quarterback Josh Kern backed up Miller and is one of four tight ends listed on the roster.

Arizona State: Chris Coyle (29 catches, 423 yards, 4 TD) is a big loss for the Sun Devils and his primary backup, Darwin Rogers, also is out of eligibility. De'Marieya Nelson and Marcus Washington are the most experienced of the four tight ends on the roster, which will grow by one with the addition of recent signee Brendan Landman. Landman is expected to redshirt after playing left tackle during his senior year in high school.

California: There is no tight end position in Cal's offense, which was a factor in Richard Rodgers' early jump to the NFL. Rodgers was switched from tight end to wide receiver last season upon coach Sonny Dykes' arrival.

Colorado: Senior Kyle Slavin is atop the depth chart after catching nine passes in 2013. Sean Irwin played minimally as a freshman, but his role is set to increase. Three other tight ends are on the roster, including Connor Center, who did not play football in high school.

[+] EnlargePharaoh Brown
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesOregon's Pharoah Brown made 10 catches, two for touchdowns, in 2013.
Oregon: The Ducks have a trio of players who gained significant experience in 2013 in Pharaoh Brown, Johnny Mundt and Evan Baylis. Brown started five games, Mundt had a 121-yard receiving game and Baylis started in the Civil War game against Oregon State. Koa Ka'ai and Davaysia Hagger will provide depth, but they don't appear on track to make much of an impact on the depth chart.

Oregon State: With Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith both returning, the Beavers arguably have the best tight end tandem in the conference. Hamlett had 40 catches for 364 yards and Smith added 25 for 343 yards. Kellen Clute (19 catches, 159 yards) also contributed to the passing game and Tyler Perry, who will be a fifth-year senior, is an important run-blocker.

Stanford: A one-time strength of the Cardinal, tight ends weren't a significant factor in Stanford's offense in 2013, but the staff is hopeful that an influx of new players will change that. Stanford signed No. 1-ranked TE-Y Dalton Schultz, and he'll compete for playing time immediately. Greg Taboada, Eric Cotton and Austin Hooper -- all well-regarded tight end recruits -- are coming off redshirts and will compete with Charlie Hopkins, who started three games last season.

UCLA: There is no traditional tight end at UCLA, but Y receiver Thomas Duarte, who was recruited as a tight end, is coming off an exceptional freshman season. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Orange County native appeared in all 13 games and tied a school freshman record with three touchdown receptions.

USC: Losing Xavier Grimble early to the NFL is a blow and just two other scholarship tight ends remain from last season: Randall Telfer and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. One of the nation's top tight ends, Bryce Dixon, signed with USC, but he wasn't among the group of four early enrollees.

Utah: The Utes were the only school in the country to send two tight ends -- Jake Murphy and Anthony Denham -- to the NFL combine, though Utah listed Denham at receiver. Siale Fakailoatonga, a former walk-on, was Murphy's primary backup on the final depth chart, and he caught two passes for 18 yards in 2013. Harrison Handley redshirted last season after enrolling early last spring and is a candidate to compete for playing time.

Washington: John Mackey Award winner Austin Seferian-Jenkins' departure for the NFL was expected, and how the Huskies replace him will be an interesting process. Clearly, there's not a one-man solution for what they'll lose with Seferian-Jenkins, but the combination that the returning players provide is a nice mix of different talents. Michael Hartvigson and Josh Perkins have the most experience at tight end, but they should receive a push from Darrell Daniels and David Ajamu. Daniels, a highly-regarded receiver recruit who switched to tight end, was a special-teams standout in 2013 as a freshman, while Ajamu redshirted.

Washington State: Washington State didn't list any tight ends on the roster last season, but early enrollee Nick Begg will start his career listed there. The long-term plan for Begg is likely elsewhere.

Previous positions
Running back
Offensive line

Tales from the road: De La Salle 

December, 18, 2012
Michael HutchingsBlair Angulo/WeAreSC.comMichael Hutchings is committed to USC, but is expected to take a visit to Washington in January.
Editor's note: HuskyNation's Mason Kelley is in Northern California this week, visiting top prospects and potential Washington targets. Click here for all of his updates.

CONCORD, Calif. -- Michael Hutchings and Austin Hooper had similar plans.

There were times when the senior standouts at Concord (Calif.) De La Salle wanted to remove themselves from the recruiting process.

Michael Hutchings preps for bowl game

December, 13, 2012
A week before the start of his final high school football season, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle linebacker Michael Hutchings walked into the coaches’ room and showed off the framed photographs hanging on the walls. He took a step toward the 2011 team picture, which he was a part of, and looked at it closely.

[+] EnlargeMichael Hutchings
ESPNUUSC LB recruit Michael Hutchings will play his last game in a De La Salle uniform this weekend.
“Every year we come in, as soon as we start, (the goal) is to win the CIF state bowl game,” Hutchings said in August. “It takes a lot of work to get there.”

Well, the work has certainly been done.

On Saturday night, Hutchings and De La Salle will seek their fourth consecutive state bowl game victory at the Home Depot Center in Carson. De La Salle (14-0), the No. 3 team in the ESPN 25 power rankings heading into the weekend, defeated previously unbeaten Folsom (Calif.) last week, 49-15, in the CIF Open Division Northern California Regional Championship Bowl Game. The perennial powerhouse has only one win of fewer than 10 points this season.

Their opponent, Corona (Calif.) Centennial, has thrived in the underdog role, eliminating highly regarded Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta and Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne on its way to the title game. Neither Vista Murrieta or Narbonne had lost prior to meeting Centennial and its up-tempo spread offense. Centennial has scored at least 30 points in every game.

"Extremely excited for the last game of the season and my career," Hutchings said. "It's going to be the best team I have faced in my career at De La Salle. They have a St. Thomas Aquinas-type talent with Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman-sized line and they are balanced. It's going to be a real test for our team, but we are ready for it at this point."

De La Salle and its defense certainly appears ready. Led by Hutchings, the USC commit who will officially visit Los Angeles on Jan. 18, De La Salle has not surrendered more than 24 points in any game this season.

Hutchings had a pair of sacks and an interception in the win against Folsom last week. The four-star linebacker has help from four-star defensive end Austin Hooper, four-star linebacker Victor Egu and three-star linebacker D.J. Moffitt.

De La Salle and Hutchings have accomplished plenty, but the work isn’t done.