• Travis Tyler

Players to Watch in the PAC-12 in 2022

Arizona

QB Jayden Delaura

The former Washington State quarterback was PAC-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year last season after throwing for 2,798 yards and 23 touchdowns and receiving All-Conference honorable mention. He still has to adjust more to the college game and cut down on mistakes, but he can become a leader for an Arizona team that is very much rebuilding its program.


RB Drake Anderson

Anderson ran for almost 1,000 yards before leaving Northwestern for Arizona. In his first season with the Wildcats, he led the team in rushing with 412 yards. That shows how bad this offense was, but Anderson is capable of much more than that. Maybe he gets there as the team adds more talent around him.


WR Jacob Cowing

Cowing is the big offseason addition for this offense. The junior was first-team All-Conference USA last year and finished his UTEP career with 141 receptions, 2,595 yards, and 13 touchdowns. No one else on this team comes even close to that, so he will be the m]primary target.


CB Isaiah Rutherford


CB Christian Roland-Wallace


Arizona State

QB Emory Jones


RB Xazavian Valladay

Valladay debuted for the Sun Devils with 116 yards and two touchdowns on Thursday night. The grad transfer has quietly been one of the best running backs in college football for the past four years. During his time at Wyoming, Valladay amassed 3,281 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. If he can have that same kind of impact in the PAC-12, he'll further his case as an elite player.


RB Daniyel Ngata


TE Jalin Conyers


DL Nesta Jade Silvera


DE Travez Moore

Moore is an elite pass rusher who returns to ASU after suffering an injury in 2021. He was expected to have a huge impact on the defense after transferring from LSU. Once fully healthy, he'll get the chance to live up to those expectations and become an elite prospect once again.


LB Merlin Robertson

Roberston is one of my favorite players to watch and I thought he would be in the NFL by now. He's a bigger linebacker at 6'3" 256 lbs and has the versatility and athleticism to play both off the ball and near the line of scrimmage. You'll see him used as a pass-rusher and in coverage, which is should give this defense an advantage. Robertson has accomplished much in his career already, and another year in Tempe should make him even better.


Cal

QB Jack Plummer


WR Jeremiah Hunter


LB Jackson Sirmon

Sirmon is the player who most intrigues me here. As the middle linebacker at Washington, he had 147 7 tackles in four years. Now, he joins a team that has had some excellent linebackers in recent seasons. As a player who had a career year in 2021, Sirmon could be the next guy in line.


Colorado

QBs JT Shrout & Brendan Lewis

The Buffaloes have decided not to make their starting quarterback decision public until kickoff. Shrout transferred from Tennessee after making one start and didn't see the field last season. Meanwhile, Lewis started every game last season and is the more mobile and athletic option, so I'd expect to see him get the nod eventually. Both played in the season opener.

RB Alex Fontenot

The senior ran for 824 yards as a sophomore in 2019 before missing the 2020 season. He returned to the lineup as a backup last season and was just as productive. Now that Jarek Broussard and Jaren Mangham have both transferred, it's his job to lose. I expect a big season.


WR RJ Sneed


WR Daniel Arias

Arias's biggest impact so far has been on special teams as a returner, where he has scored the seventh-most points of any special teamer in program history. He continues to progress as a receiver and has the size and speed to create mismatches down the field. He enters this season as one of the more experienced players on this roster.


TE Brady Russell


Oregon

QB Bo Nix

The Auburn legacy has transferred to Oregon and will lead an offense that fits his dual-threat capabilities. Nix was a three-year starter for the Tigers and threw for 7,251 yards and 39 touchdowns in 34 games. Injuires crept in and hindered his development, but he'll be in for a big year if Oregon keeps a similar offensive scheme, and the veteran presence will be key when competing in the PAC-12.


RB Mar'Kiese Irving


WR Kris Hutson

Hutson is the Ducks' best returning receiver. He finished the 2021 season second on the team in receiving yards and third in receptions. He fits the typical mold of a small, speedy Oregon receiver and will be one of the top weapons on offense.


WR Chase Cota


OL TJ Bass


LB Noah Sewell

Sewell has first-round talent and is clearly one of the best linebackers in the country. He's fast, explosive, and violent with phenomenal instincts. In 2020, he was a Freshman All-American and PAC-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, and he followed that with an ALl-Conference performance that led to him becoming a Butkus Award semifinalist. He has a bright future and stands out when watching Oregon play.


LB Justin Flowe


CB Christian Gonzalez

Gonzalez is huge for a corner, but he's shown the skill needed to stick at the position, He spent his freshman year at Colorado and led all defensive backs on the team in tackles and pass breakups. Extremely high potential and playing for such a great defensive coach like Dan Lanning should help him greatly.


LB Mase Funa


Oregon State

QB Chance Nolan

Nolan is incredibly underrated on a national level. In just 15 starts, he has 3,214 yards and 25 touchdown passes while completing 61.1 percent of his passes. Last season, he made 12 starts, completed 64.2 percent of his passes, and finished second in the conference in passer rating. The guy has an NFL-caliber arm and could be a nationally known name by the end of the year.


RB Deshaun Fenwick


WR Tre'Shaun Harrison


OL Joshua Gray


OL Taliese Fuaga


DL Isaac Hodgins


LB Omar Speights

Another player people have slept on because of where he plays. Speights has 225 career tackles, is a former freshman All-American, and has been named All-PAC 12 three times. It would be difficult to find many players who have had better careers than Speights.


CB Rejzohn Wright

Another player trending in the right direction with fantastic measurables for his position. Wright earned his way into the starting lineup for the Beavers last season and made 52 tackles with two interceptions and eight pass breakups. He's a physical player who presents a challenge for most receivers and is becoming one of the best corners in the PAC-12.


Stanford

QB Tanner McKee

Despite Stanford's overall struggles, McKee has put together a decent start to his career. Last season, he put himself on the map with a 2,300-yard passing season and 15 touchdowns on a lackluster, run-oriented offense. He finished strongly down the stretch, which has people enamored with his potential. Although it was against Colgate, he performed well enough in the season-opener to continue to justify the attention.


RB EJ Smith


WR Michael Wilson

Staford isn't one of those teams that throws the ball around the yard, so its receivers have to make the most of their opportunities. Wilson is the best example on the current roster. In 2019 (his last fully healthy season), he reeled in 56 passes for 672 yards and five touchdowns, which is pretty much what you should expect from a young player who was not a primary target. Wilson will be WR1 if he can stay healthy. Thus, more targets and playmaking opportunities will come his way.


WR Elijah Higgins


DB Patrick Fields


UCLA

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson


RB Zach Charbonnet

Another big bruiser who could've gone to the NFL in the offseason. After rarely playing during his time at Michigan, Charbonnet transferred to UCLA and ran for 1,137 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first season out west. The Bruins do lose backup Brittian Brown, so Charbonnet will have more opportunities to make plays this season.


WR Jake Bobo

Bobo's length at 6'5" can be a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs. In 43 games over four seasons at Duke, he became the Blue Devils' top target with 126 receptions for 1,441 yards-- both among the top 20 in Duke history. Expect him to have a big role on the UCLA offense.

WR Kam Brown


OL Raiqwon O'Neal


DE Gabriel Murphy


DE Grayson Murphy


DE Bo Calvert



USC

QB Caleb Williams

It's all about the transfers for USC. Williams is the starting quarterback after stealing the starting job at Oklahoma as a freshman. While he was impressive, he was a better runner and the Sooners did not rely on his arm too often. I expect that to change as he matures in the college game. Lincoln Riley definitely knows how to use him and will make him a star.


RB Travis Dye

Dye transfers within the conference from Oregon-- where he ranks among the program's all-time leading rushers. It's not often you see a player like that change schools, but you have to think the Oregon coaching change had something to do with it. Given the success of the ground ga,e at Oklahoma, Dye should be primed for another great season.


WR Jordan Addison

One of the best receivers in the country. After transferring from Pitt, Addison gives the Trojans a legitimate, NFL-caliber receiver to lead the passing game.


WR Mario Williams

WR Brendan Rice

OL Bobby Haskins

OL Andrew Vorhees

DE Nick Figueroa

DL Brandon Pili

LB Shane Lee


Utah

QB Cameron Rising

Much is expected of Rising after a breakout 2021 campaign in which he started 11 games, was named first-team All-PAC 12, and led his team to a PAC-12 Championship and a Rose Bowl berth. While the Utes were upset by Florida in Week One, Rising still played well-- completing 68 percent of his passes for 216 yards and running for an additional 91 yards. His legs are an underrated facet of his game and a reason people think he can make the leap to the next level.


RB Tavion Thomas

Thomas is another Utah player who was named first-team All-PAC-12 in 2021. At 6'2" 238 lbs, he's a nightmare to try to tackle and one of the more interesting backs in college football. He finished the 2021 season with 1,108 yards and led the PAC-12 with 21 rushing touchdowns. His return for this season is off to a good start after a 115-yard performance against Florida.


TE Brant Kuithe

TE Dalton Kincaid

OL Braedan Daniels

LB Mohamoud Diabate

CB Clark Philips

S Cole Bishop


Washington

QB Michael Penix Jr

The former Inidaia quarterback reunites with his former offensiv3e coordinator in Seattle as Kalen Deboer was named head coach this offseason. The familiarity between the two should make the change easier and allow the offense to run more smoothly. The Huskies' offense has been awful in recent seasons, but Penix is the type of player who can help change that with his exciting playing style.


WR Ja'Lynn Polk


RB Wayne Taulapapa


LB Cam Bright

Bright comes to Washington after a five-year career at Pitt in which he amassed 182 tackles and won an ACC Championship. He was one of the Panther's best players and gets to prove it again in a new conference.


LB Edefuan Olafoshio


LB Kristopher Moll


S Asa Turner


KR Giles Jackson


Washington State

QB Cam Ward

The Incarnate Word transfer has quickly risen up draft boards this offseason. Ward possesses a perfect combination of running and passing ability for today's game. He's thrown for nearly 7,000 yards in his two years of college football and was one of the primary playmakers for UIW as it won the Southland Conference.


WR Renard Bell


WR Lincoln Victor


RB Nakia Watson



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