Pac-10 home run hitters
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
The most dangerous guys in space for each Pac-10 team.
Arizona -- TE Rob Gronkowski: Hey, a home-run hitter doesn't have to be a track guy -- just ask a defensive coordinator watching The Gronk carry his 265 pounds into a secondary. Gronkowski has a 1:5 touchdown-to-reception ratio while hauling in 16 scoring passes over the past two seasons.
Arizona State -- WR Kyle Williams: Williams, one of the fastest Sun Devils, led the Pac-10 with 17 yards per punt return in 2008. He only caught 19 passes a year ago, but four went for touchdowns and he averaged 19.2 yards per catch.
California -- RB Jahvid Best: Best is the nation's most dangerous player -- see seven runs of 60 or more yards last year. When he gets past the first level of defense, the entire stadium gasps.
Oregon -- WR Jamere Holland: This is a pure projection because Holland only flashed potential last fall after transferring from USC -- where he was touted as the Trojans fastest receiver. But an outstanding spring makes these numbers notable: Holland ran a 10.36 100 meters in high school.
Oregon State -- WR James Rodgers: He was first-team All-Pac-10 in kickoff returns and ranked 18th in the nation in all-purpose yards with 152.75 per game in 2008. His 10 TDs included an 86-yard kickoff return. His improvement as a receiver suggests more touches in 2009 -- and more home runs.
Stanford -- RB Toby Gerhart: Know what you're thinking: He's a 232-pound power back. True. But did you also know that Gerhart produced runs of 20 or more yards in nine of 12 games last year? One of his 15 TDs was a 46-yard dash when he made a fast Beavers defense seem slow.
UCLA -- WR Randall Carroll: Much like Holland, this is a pure projection based on speed because Carroll is an incoming freshman. But the USA Today Prep All-American who ranked as ESPNU's No. 46 overall prospect and No. 5 receiver, won a second consecutive California state title in both the 100 (10.38) and 200 (21.08) in June. On a Bruins offense starving for playmakers, Carroll will not redshirt.
USC -- RB Joe McKnight: McKnight has only scored seven touchdowns over the past two seasons. And every time he seems on the cusp of breaking out -- recall how everyone began hyperventilating after he had 206 all-purpose yards in the 2008 Rose Bowl blowout vs. Illinois -- he gets hurt. But McKnight is as fast and elusive as any back in the conference, other than Best. If he stays healthy, he will put up big numbers.
Washington -- RB Chris Polk: The easy answer would be to tap quarterback Jake Locker or maybe receiver D'Andre Goodwin, or to crack wise about how bad the offense was in 2008. And Polk's 20 carries for 33 yards before getting hurt and redshirting in 2008 won't blow anyone away. But Polk put up huge numbers in high school -- USC offered him a scholarship -- and a year of maturing should help him break through this fall.
Washington State -- WR Jeshua Anderson: We keep talking about speed and Anderson isn't just football fast -- he's world class. He's a two-time Pac-10 and NCAA 400-meter hurdles champion and holds the WSU record with a time of 48.47. He only had 33 receptions for 305 yards and two touchdowns in 2008, but he's a little bit bigger -- now carrying just over 200 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame -- and probably will look more like a football player with the ball in his hands this year.