Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Proving grounds revisited: Pac-12 North
By Kevin Gemmell
Back in June we looked at 12 players -- one from each of the Pac-12 teams -- who needed to have an impact year. Some did, some didn't. On Monday we looked at the Pac-12 South. Today we turn our focus to the Pac-12 North. Here's the link for the North players back in June.
Zach Maynard, QB, Cal: Much like Cal's season, Maynard never really got off the ground. He hit a career high in completion percentage at 60. 8 percent, but he had just 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He missed the final two games with injury and over his final four games he had just three touchdowns to five picks. He had one breakout game -- a 43-17 win over UCLA where he completed 83.3 percent of his throws -- but it was a rare highlight in a disappointing season for quarterback and team.
Josh Huff, WR, Oregon: He finished with career highs in receptions (32), yards (493) and touchdowns (7) despite missing two games. He was second on the team in receptions behind De'Anthony Thomas and put together a big two-game stretch midseason against USC and California where he combined for 11 catches, 234 yards and five touchdowns. It was a good year for what he's asked to do in the run-heavy offense.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State: He strung together a phenomenal season that saw him earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors. He caught 91 balls for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns and he also carried the ball 20 times with a pair of rushing touchdowns. One of the fastest players in the league, Wheaton had a dominating season and was one of the best wide receivers in the country. And along the way he did a pretty good job tutoring Brandin Cooks, who looks to be one of the brightest receivers in the conference for the next couple of years.
Wayne Lyons, CB, Stanford: It was a decent first full season for Lyons, who was coming off of a season-ending injury in 2011. But Stanford's defense was so dominating that it's easy for role players to get lost in the shuffle. He appeared in all 14 games and recorded 25 tackles with one interception. Look for Lyons to take a step forward next season. Head coach David Shaw has made it very clear that he has high hopes for Lyons.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: The Huskies' dramatic defensive turnaround was certainly bolstered by the addition of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. But let's also give a little credit to the guys on the field. Trufant lived up to his hype as a lockdown corner and earned first-team all-league honors. His numbers weren't as lofty as some other defensive backs -- but that was out of respect and teams throwing away from him. He finished with one interception and a team-high nine pass breakups. He also forced a fumble, recovered another and blocked a kick.
Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State: He makes the first-team All-Pac-12 interview team. But unfortunately that and a couple of bucks will buy you a cup of coffee. Things never came together for Tuel in Mike Leach's first year at Washington State and the constant shuffling at quarterback didn't do much to help his numbers. He completed 63.6 percent of his throws, but had just eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.