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August 21, 2007Oregon State wide receiver Sammie Stroughter, who missed part of preseason camp, will take a leave of absence from the Beavers as he continues to deal with personal issues related to the deaths of two family members and coach Jim Gilstrap who recruited Stroughter to Oregon State.
"During the past year my family and I have experienced a considerable amount of grief and mourning due to the passing of two family members who were important male role models in my life. In addition to these losses, Coach Jim Gilstrap, who recruited me to OSU, passed away this summer," Stroughter said in a release by the university.
"These losses have taken my entire family by storm and the grief from these incidents has affected each one of us differently. It has been the decision of my immediate family and I that I take whatever time needed to get over what I am personally experiencing due to the sudden changes in my life."
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley supports Stroughter's decision.
"The Oregon State University football program supports Sammie's decision completely," he said. "Sammie will always have an open door with this football program. He is a terrific young man and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Last season, Stroughter caught 74 passes for 1,293 yards and five touchdowns and was selected as a second team All-Pac 10 receiver. This year Rivals.com rated him eighth in its preseason receiver rankings.
"Academics and football are very important to me and I appreciate all of the support I've received from the entire OSU coaching staff, teammates, faculty and the loyal supporters of Oregon State football," Stroughter said. "Also, I would like to extend my prayers and support to the Gilstrap family. My football career would not have been possible without Coach Gilstrap's help and guidance."