Pac-12 spring sneak peek: Star power at QB defines league in

8:00 AM ET Kyle Bonagura Close Kyle Bonagura ESPN Staff Author Covers the Pac-12. Signed up with ESPN in 2014. Attended Washington State University.Paolo Uggetti While the conference deals with its approaching search for a brand-new media deal and possible expansion in the wake of USC’s and UCLA’s 2024

  • departure to the Huge

  • 10, this spring will be the first time we get to see peeks of some of the Pac-12’s brand-new additions in addition to returning stars as it solidifies itself as the conference of quarterbacks.USC’s Caleb Williams leads the charge after winning the Heisman last season as a sophomore while Oregon’s Bo Nix, Utah’s Cam Increasing and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. all decided to go back to school for one more year.

    All four of those teams need to enter and emerge from spring ball as the favorites.But don’t ignore groups like Oregon State and Washington State. The previous added Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei in the transfer portal while the latter has Cameron Ward coming back for another season. Rounding out the lineup is Kent State transfer Collin Schlee at UCLA( who will need to keep an eye on freshman Dante Moore), Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne(who landed at Arizona State under brand-new coach Kenny Dillingham)along with returning starters Jayden de Laura (Arizona)and of course, Deion Sanders’son Shedeur Sanders, who will be kickstarting a brand-new period of Colorado football.In what is currently a transition year for the Pac-12, it might be gazing at its best chance to get a group back into the College Football Playoff since Washington’s lone look in 2016. Top story: Can Arizona’s defense improve? It’s difficult to overstate how bad the Wildcats’defense was last season. They was among the worst 25

    teams in the country in both passing defense and rushing defense while having one of the 20 best offenses in the country. The disparity in between the 2 systems is plain, but it likewise means there’s lots of room for improvement. Defense will certainly be the talk of spring camp, specifically after the unit lost players like defensive lineman Kyon Barrs and corner Christian Roland-Wallace to USC in the transfer portal.Newcomer to enjoy: Protective lineman Bill Norton and linebacker Daniel Heimuli are two transfer additions that might assist the lackluster unit head in the right instructions while inbound four-star freshman linebacker Leviticus Su’a from California shows that head coach Jedd Fisch can hire potentially elite protective players, not simply those on offense, too. All 3 will be players to see in spring as Arizona continues to pry itself away from the bottom of the conference.– Uggetti Editor’s Picks 1 Related Leading storyline: The hire of Kenny Dillingham to lead the Sun Devils might not have been more opposite than that of his predecessor, Herm Edwards. By all accounts, Dillingham appears to be the right guy for the task given his allegiance to the school, his offensive acumen and hiring expertise.

    Spring will be the first time we’ll get a look at how Dillingham fares as a head coach of a team that severely needs management and a brand new start. And as Dillingham surely saw at Oregon while he was an offensive organizer there last year in Dan Lanning’s first year, that task isn’t easy.Newcomer to see: Drew Pyne. The effect of Dillingham’s hire has been felt immediately in not just the recruitment of luxury quarterback Jaden Rashada(who has now flipped to the Sun Devils ), but the addition of Notre Dame’s Pyne by method of the website. Pyne tossed for over 2,000 lawns with 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions last year in South Bend and provides a more than dependable alternative for ASU at a position that has seen better days in Tempe. Pyne will offer a best alternative to bridge the space in between last season and Rashada’s ultimate expected rise to starter.– Uggetti Top storyline: The Justin Wilcox age has formally gone into win-or-else area. After five complete seasons– plus the limited 2020 season– the Bears have yet to sign up a winning record in conference play under Wilcox and, a lot more troubling, have regressed each year given that going 8-5 in 2019. That’s enough time to understand what to expect with Wilcox in Berkeley and if there isn’t substantial enhancement this

    season, it’s reasonable to expect a modification. The timing is interesting here because had actually the plug been pulled last season (as the Bears went 4-8, 2-7), the rational replacement would have been former Cal quarterback Troy Taylor, who instead took the task at Stanford after David Shaw stepped down.Newcomer to view: Jake Spavital is back in Berkeley as the offending organizer after serving the previous four seasons as head coach at Texas State. His go back to Cal, where he served as the offending organizer for Sonny Dykes in 2016– and, quickly, as the offseason interim head coach– represents a blow-it-up-and-start-over approach to the offense, which has been a glaring weakness during Wilcox’s period.– Bonagura play 1:54 Deion Sanders not amazed by success of 1st recruiting class Colorado coach Deion Sanders weighs in on his very first recruiting class with the program.Top storyline: Unlike in previous seasons, there are a lot of stories and questions around the program at Boulder heading into this spring, but all of those more or less come back to the very same overarching storyline:How will Deion Sanders begin to improve a Department I set that requires not just

    assist however a total overhaul? That overhaul has currently begun in myriad methods, but spring camp must be the very first take a look at what Sanders(as well as the 7 Jackson State players who followed him to Colorado)will bring to the table.Newcomer to enjoy: Travis Hunter. After shocking the sport by getting Hunter (the No. 1 overall recruit last season)to choose Jackson State over Florida State, Sanders’move west meant the Buffs were getting Hunter too. Colorado isn’t in a location where one elite player could completely raise their defense, but Hunter’s talent will inevitably raise their flooring.– Uggetti Dan Lanning’s vision for Oregon must take shape in 2023, particularly with QB Bo Nix returning for another season. AP Photo/Andy Nelson Top story: It’s Dan Lanning’s group now. What does that suggest? Even in this age of college football, where turning over a lineup is much easier through the advancement of transfer rules, it’s tough for first-year coaches to play exactly how they desire. Style of play is still dictated, to a degree, by the roster makeup. So, while Lanning kipped down an outstanding debut season in Eugene– 10-3, 7-2 in the conference– it was constantly part of a bigger procedure. This isn’t unique, obviously, however that dynamic is what makes this spring so fascinating for the Ducks.

    There are still acquired players on the lineup, however this is now, basically, a group built in Lanning’s vision. It will be especially interesting to see how that manifests on the defensive side, given Lanning’s history on that side of the ball.Newcomer to enjoy: Offensive lineman Ajani Cornelius is among the more interesting offseason transfers. An unheralded hire coming out of high school in New york city, he blossomed into one of the most desired players in the portal over the last two seasons at FCS Rhode Island.– Bonagura Leading storyline: Specifying success in Corvallis this year will be hard. Continued enhancement? Keep the level the Beavers showed in 2022? Just minor regression (thinking about

    the losses on defense )? It refers framing. Considering that Jonathan Smith took over prior to the 2018 season, the Beavers have made incremental progress each year to reach last year’s 10-3 season, topped by a win in the Las Vegas Bowl. It was simply the 3rd time in school history the Beavers won at least 10 games, so it needs to

    be remembered as an all-time excellent season. Except, at the very same time, the Beavs just finished in 5th location and, despite the historic context, that’s barely a satisfying spot in the standings.Newcomer to view: QB DJ Uiagalelei’s arrival is amongst the most prominent transfers in college football. He went from the next big thing to out of a task at Clemson due to irregular play. In any case, he represents a considerable upgrade at the position for Oregon State, which has been held back by QB play over the last few years.– Bonagura Leading story: New period, brand-new vision. After managing the most effective period in school history, things just did

    n’t work for David Shaw at the end. A fresh set of ideas was required and that’s what new coach Troy Taylor need to provide. At Sacramento State, he took control of a group that went 2-8 general and 0-7 in the Huge Sky Conference in 2018 and continued to lose just one conference game over the next three seasons (they did not play in 2020). Reproducing that kind of immediate turnaround will be substantially more difficult in this situation, but it does offer some optimism that Stanford can be competitive again.Newcomer to watch: Taylor. Some more realities about Taylor at Sac State: The Hornets ranked No. 3 in total offense(499.8 yards per game)utilizing a two-quarterback system in which QB Asher O’Hara was 2nd on the team in passing backyards (883)and rushing lawns(938).– Bonagura Leading story: Who will replace Dorian Thompson-Robinson under center? After waving goodbye to his longtime, NFL-bound quarterback, Chip Kelly may have a good old made quarterback fight on his hands. The Bruins plucked Kent State’s Collin Schlee from the transfer website and Schlee is established well to take over the quarterback gig for the Bruins. Last season. Schlee threw for over 2,000 yards and 13 goals (and ran for nearly 500 lawns and four goals)and has the possible to more excel in an offense like Kelly’s. Yet inbound recruit Dante Moore provides UCLA a five-star wunderkind who looks the

    part and might give Schlee a run at the position. Speaking of … Beginner to see: The 17-year-old quarterback out of Michigan stunned the college football world last year when he turned from Oregon to UCLA. Then, at the 2023 All-American bowl this year, Moore proceeded to show just how good he already is. In minimal snaps at the bowl, Moore tossed for 4 touchdowns and won the game’s MVP award.– Uggetti USC quarterback Caleb Williams will have time in spring practice to gel with newbie Dorian Singer, a wide receiver transfer from Arizona. Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire Leading story: It will be difficult for USC to encourage the college football world it has done enough to enhance its defense till the fall when games start. Yet after leaving last season on a sour note following a championship game loss to Tulane, defensive planner Alex Grinch’s system will be the focus of spring camp. Lincoln Riley maintained Grinch and reinforced his trust in him after an-up-down season that was buoyed by a historical turnover rate. But much will have to improve for the defense to accomplish a level of play that will be enough to avoid obstructing of what could as soon as again be one of the best offenses in college football. The additions of players like defensive linemen Anthony Lucas and Kyon Barrs via the transfer website must help.Newcomer to enjoy: Dorian Singer. In the wake of Jordan Addison’s departure to the NFL, Heisman winner Caleb Williams will need a new No. 1 target. Spring could be the time when Singer– who moved from Arizona after a 1,105-yard, six-touchdown season– may develop an essential chemistry with Williams to ensure their collaboration will be as efficient. USC’s wide receiver room has lots of skilled players, however Vocalist has all the makings to become its finest.– Uggetti Leading storyline: What can Utah do to become a playoff competitor? For a team that has actually now won the conference two seasons in a row, the only ceiling left to break through is the College Football Playoff. In 2015, the Utes were a couple of close

    losses away from remaining in the field and though there’s little doubt Kyle Whittingham’s group will have another strong season across all position groups, it’s been evident that they’re still a cut below the nation’s elite groups. Rising’s return for another factor offers the Utes every opportunity to get to that level, however changing players like tight end Dalton Kincaid and cornerback Clark Phillips III will be a challenge.Newcomer to enjoy: Emery Simmons. The four-star wide receiver from Indiana hasn’t had an especially outstanding

    profession so far, but his transfer to Salt Lake City might offer the Utes a much-needed alternative on offense. In 2015, Utah’s leading receiver was tight end Dalton Kincaid, who is now NFL-bound. Both returning receivers Devaughn Vele and Money Parks must play considerable functions in ensuring Increasing has lots of choices next season. Spring might be a time for Simmons to get in the mix also.– Uggetti Michael Penix Jr. and the Washington offense might be even much better in

    coach Kalen DeBoer’s 2nd season. Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire Leading story: Is Washington a national title competitor? It may appear absurd to ask that of a Pac-12 team provided the conference’s history in the playoff era, however that’s what springtime is for. This is a group that returns most of its essential offensive pieces– consisting of Heisman prospect Michael Penix Jr.– from a group that ranked No. 7 in the nation in scoring. And it did so in coach Kalen DeBoer’s first season. There are some questions to address in the rushing game with starting RB Wayne Taulapapa gone, however there is every factor to think this offense will be even much better in 2023. Beginner to see: Dillon Johnson is most likely the player with the chance to make the most significant effect right away. The Mississippi State transfer gets here with over 1,000 profession hurrying yards and will compete for the starting running back task.– Bonagura Leading story: Just how much does the absence of connection on the training personnel matter? Selecting Jake Dickert as head coach was supposed to supply some stability for the Cougars after Nick Rolovich’s uncomfortable departure. Rather, the Cougs are dealing with their 3rd set of organizers on both sides of the ball in 3 years. Good sense says that’s not ideal, however this group of players has actually been remarkably resistant through consistent change. The Cougars have actually reached a championship game in each of the last seven (full)seasons, which is a massive accomplishment considering the previous program record was 3(2001 to 2003). Beginner to view: Offensive organizer Ben Arbuckle. At Western Kentucky, Arbuckle collaborated the No. 7 offense in college football (497.2 backyards per game )and best amongst the Group of 5.– Bonagura

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