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Beavers' James Rodgers cleared to play

Oregon State flanker James Rodgers, coming off two knee surgeries, has been cleared to play against UCLA on Saturday.

Coach Mike Riley said Rodgers, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility after he was injured last season, will start.

"He looks good to me. Looks fast. Catches the ball," Riley told reporters at practice on Wednesday. "Looks like James."

Rodgers was ranked sixth in the nation with an average of 176.75 all-purpose yards last season when he was hurt five games into the season at Arizona. He holds Oregon State's record for all-purpose yards with 5,784.

He is the older brother of former Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Quizz, as he is known, left school a year early for the NFL and now plays with the Atlanta Falcons.

"I haven't even thought of any goals," James Rodgers said. "My No. 1 goal coming into this year was getting healthy. I'm there now and getting better each week. That's all I can ask for."

Riley said Rodgers will not handle kickoff returns or punt returns at the start, and he'll be rotated at receiver with freshman Brandin Cooks.

There was the possibility that had the doctors not cleared Rodgers, Oregon State could have asked for a sixth year of eligibility.

"I didn't want to take a sixth year, but if that was something that I had to do I would take it," he said.

Rodgers brings some much-needed veteran leadership to a team that has had a turbulent start. The Beavers are 0-2, including a loss at home in their opener against Sacramento State of the Big Sky Conference.

Oregon State was off for a week after a 35-0 loss at then-No. 8 Wisconsin. During the break, Riley announced that starting quarterback Ryan Katz would be replaced by redshirt freshman Sean Mannion.

The Beavers hope that the change, along with the return of Rodgers and senior H-back Joe Halahuni, gives the team a boost for their conference opener against the Bruins (1-2). Oregon State has not started a season 0-3 since 1996.

Halahuni, who had six touchdown catches last season, had surgery this spring on his left shoulder.

"I'm excited to have him back," Riley said during Oregon State's weekly football news conference. "He provides us with a proven threat at tight end as a receiver. Physically, I think he feels a lot better than he has in a long time. He played a lot of last year with that shoulder."