Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Pac-12's first-year players to watch
By Ted Miller
Just about every Pac-12 team will play at least a couple of true freshmen or incoming junior college recruits this year. The days of redshirting an entire recruiting class are long gone.
Sometimes, it seems fairly clear a guy is going to play immediately, particularly the JC guys who aren't signed to sit. But every year somebody who is supposed to be ready to play isn't, and someone comes from no where to make a major impact.
So... who are some first-year guys who will see action this year?
Glad you asked.
Arizona: While B.J. Denker may win the starting job at quarterback, both JC transfer Jesse Scroggins and incoming freshman Anu Solomon are solidly in the picture. It would be hard to believe one or the other won't see significant action this fall.
The Ducks are hoping ESPN 150 running back Thomas Tyner succeeds in his first season.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils believe JC transfer Jaelen Strong will provide a good -- perhaps great -- answer to their questions at receiver.
California: The Bears will need some help at defensive end if Chris McCain's academics aren't in order, so JC transfer Kyle Kragen looks like a good candidate to step up and fill a sudden need.
Colorado: Freshman linebacker Addison Gillam was one of the top performers this spring, and he topped the post-spring depth chart at Mike linebacker.
Oregon: While RB Thomas Tyner is the biggest name in the recruiting class and likely to be immediately in the mix, you probably can arrive at more certainty with kicker/punter Matt Wogan. Of course, Ducks fans most certainly do not have a strong opinion about their field goal kicking the past two years, which hasn't cost them any big games or anything.
Oregon State: The Beavers have three JC transfers at defensive tackle: Edwin Delva, Siale Hautau -- who both participated in spring practices, at least until Hautau broke his hand -- and Kyle Peko. It's likely two of them will start and the other will play.
Stanford: It's possible no incoming freshmen will see significant action for the veteran Cardinal, but if you were to guess a name, receiver Francis Owusu is a possibility, considering receiver is the team's most unproven position.
UCLA: The Bruins are replacing all four starters in their secondary, so expect to see at least a couple of youngsters on the depth chart in the back-half. Tahaan Goodman is a good bet to start at safety.
USC: The Trojans had a handful of freshmen arrive early for spring drills, many of whom are certain to play, but safeties Leon McQuay and Su’a Cravens immediately looked like prospects to start, or at least see significant action.
Utah: JC defensive tackle Ses Ianu is a candidate to start at a position of extreme need after the departure of Star Lotulelei and Dave Kruger. He was listed as an "Or" on the post-spring depth chart with senior LT Tuipulotu.
Washington: The Huskies are a veteran team with 20 starters back, so it's unlikely any incoming players will win starting jobs, at least other than kicker Cameron Van Winkle, who could challenge returning starter Travis Coons. May also want to keep tabs on Damore'ea Stringfellow at receiver.
Washington State: While the Cougars are deep at receiver and need help on the offensive line, the most likely incoming player to contribute is JC transfer Vince Mayle at receiver, the team's highest rated newcomer. Mike Leach's offense thrives when it can spread the field, and Mayle has the physical skills to help do that.