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Brandin Cooks confident Beavers can replace Markus Wheaton

CULVER CITY, Calif. -- After a prolific season during which they formed one of the top receiving tandems in college football, Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton are back under the radar, albeit on different sides of the country now.

Wheaton, a third-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, could be an intriguing fantasy flier if he can carve out a role replacing some of Mike Wallace's production, while Cooks returns for his junior season at Oregon State, again overshadowed by prodigious talents at USC.

Last season, Cooks and Wheaton could never get the same name recognition on a national basis afforded the Trojans' Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Lee and Woods totaled 2,567 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns on 194 receptions, compared to 158 catches for 2,395 yards and 16 scores for a Beavers team that won two more games.

And while USC has sophomore Nelson Agholor ready to step into the No. 2 role opposite Lee, there is no clear-cut successor to Wheaton at Oregon State.

Cooks identified redshirt sophomore Richard Mullaney and redshirt freshman Malik Gilmore as viable options at Pac-12 media day and is confident someone will pick up the slack to keep opposing defenses honest.

"The void that Markus left, one of those guys will step up and be playmakers and take that pressure off," Cooks said. "They won't be able to do double coverage on me."

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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