Who has the best quarterback situation in the Pac-12? Going into the summer, here’s the quarterback ranking for every Pac-12 team.
12. Arizona State
For the first time in years, the Sun Devils are in a precarious situation behind center. Todd Graham is looking to rebound from an awful 2015, but must do so with a trio of quarterbacks, Manny Wilkins, Brady White and Bryce Perkins, that have zero combined passing attempts at this level. Graham and new coordinator Chip Lindsey will take much of August to anoint Mike Bercovici’s successor.
The Utes haven’t been great at quarterback in a very long time, but they benefited by having a pair of seniors, Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson, on last year’s two-deep. That’s been replaced by uncertainty, with little-used junior Brandon Cox holding a slight edge on rookie Tyler Huntley and former JUCO—and U-Dub—transfer Troy Williams.
In an ideal world, the Buffs had hoped that Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb would have finished his career in Boulder, battling a healthy Sefo Liufau for the job. However, Webb decided to matriculate in Berkeley, and Liufau’s foot injury remains a worry. Liufau is a proven starter, but the fact that Mike MacIntyre went so hard after Webb might be an indication that the incumbent is questionable to last from wire-to-wire.
9. Oregon State
The Beavers are guaranteed to be improved at the position this season. How much will depend on how well the backs and the linemen perform in Corvallis. Darrel Garretson was a cagey pickup for head coach Gary Andersen, who also had the quarterback at Utah State. Garretson is a gamer, with the leadership qualities that this offense desperately needs to begin showing progress in 2016.
When Sonny Dykes picked Colorado’s pocket and landed Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb, it changed the trajectory of Cal’s 2016 season. Before the Webb signing, the Bears were attempting to locate Jared Goff’s heir from among a collection of backups with minimal relevant experience. Now, the team has a gunslinger that’s no stranger to the offense and brings more than 5,000 career passing yards to Strawberry Canyon.
This might be the year that fans really appreciate Kevin Hogan, the oft-criticized four-year starter on the Farm. He’ll be missed for his leadership, know-how and big-game poise. The Cardinal has yet to decide on a successor, though Keller Chryst has been installed as the slight favorite over Ryan Burns. While the pair lacks experience, it’s not as if Stanford has had a habit of signing journeymen at this position.
Anu Solomon hit a plateau in his development in 2015, largely the result of nagging injuries. Now, he’s vulnerable to the challenge of Brandon Dawkins who didn’t back down in the spring. A healthy Solomon, who has two years as a starter under his belt, is a good fit for Rich Rodriguez’s attack. The junior, though, has yet to prove he can go an entire year without being dinged up, and that’s a concern in Tucson.
For the second year in a row, Mark Helfrich has used the FCS as a feeder system to fill an opening behind center. Last year, Vernon Adams was lured out of Eastern Washington, while Montana State’s Dakota Prukop will now finish his college career in Eugene. A more dangerous runner than passer, Prukop tore up the Big Sky Conference, but must still beat out rookie Travis Jonsen to win the starting gig.
Former five-star recruit Max Browne has yet to officially be named the heir to Cody Kessler. Does Troy have a good problem since redshirt freshman Sam Darnold has been able to hang with Browne? Or is there reason for concern that Browne might not be ready for this opportunity? The former makes more sense. Browne has all of the necessary tools for instant success, and Darnold’s ascent should mean depth is a little less of a problem for the 2016 squad.
In Jake Browning, the Huskies boast one of the best young quarterbacks in college football. And a player that the offense can be built around over the next two or three years. Browning laid the groundwork for a terrific career in Seattle by starting all but the Stanford game last Oct. 24. U-Dub’s other sophomore, K.J. Carta-Samuels, has a bright future with the program as well.
2. Washington State
After scratching the surface as a rookie in 2014, Luke Falk exceeded all expectations as a sophomore, throwing 38 touchdown passes to only eight picks. He’s the classic case of a quarterback fitting the system to a tee, flourishing as Mike Leach’s newest triggerman. Plus, by missing the tail end of the regular season, Falk allowed backup Peyton Bender to earn two starts and pick up valuable reps against Colorado and Washington.
The Bruins harbor one of the nation’s premier young quarterbacks, Josh Rosen. And now that the franchise—and possible future No. 1 overall pick—has his first full season in the bank, he figures to be even more proficient and dangerous as a sophomore. However, the bench won’t be as seasoned in 2016. Jerry Neuheisel chose not to use his final year of eligibility, meaning little-used senior Mike Fafaul will likely serve as this year’s backup.