Pac-12: Dave Wilkerson

Spring breakout players

May, 3, 2011
PM ET's Bruce Feldman looks at 10 "breakout" players this spring, and two from the Pac-12 made his list: Arizona State DT Will Sutton and Washington DE Josh Shirley.

To be brief: I concur. Good choices.

Here's Feldman's take.
5. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State Sun Devils

The Sun Devils have gotten way more than their share of talent from Southern California's Centennial High, and Sutton appears ready to be the next product of that program to make an impact. ASU staffers I know have gushed about the 6-2, 285-pounder's potential for a while. He missed the 2010 season due to academic issues, but the word is he's ready to be a force now. In fact, Sutton, a very quick, very explosive sophomore, may more than make up for the loss of Lawrence Guy to the NFL.

10. Josh Shirley, DE/OLB, Washington Huskies

The Huskies were sixth in the Pac-10 in sacks last season. Expect the speedy 225-pound Shirley to help address that. He flashed big-play potential for what appears to be a much-improved defensive line.

A handful I'd add: Washington State WR Kristoff Williams, Stanford TE Zach Ertz, Arizona DE C.J. Parrish, UCLA RB Jordan James, Colorado DT Conrad Obi, California OLB Dave Wilkerson, Oregon State OLB Michael Doctor, USC RB Curtis McNeal, Utah DE Joe Kruger and Oregon DE Dion Jordan (who was supposed to breakout in 2010 but apparently waited a year).

Yes, I wanted to make sure everyone got their breakout player.

Cal starting lineup taking shape

August, 20, 2010
Good information in this California notebook from Jonathan Okanes.

Okanes notes that coach Jeff Tedford has been more open about revealing the pecking order at competitive positions, which is a great help when practices are closed.

So there is a lot of choice info here:
On offense, [Tedford] said the definitive starters as of right now are QB Kevin Riley, RB Shane Vereen, WR Marvin Jones, WR Keenan Allen, TE Anthony Miller, LT Mitchell Schwartz and C Chris Guarnero. Allen was the only player he quantified with “as of now.”

On defense, Tedford said the only concrete starters are DE Cameron Jordan, ILB Mike Mohamed and OLB Mychal Kendricks.

Tedford also said Giorgio Tavecchio would handle both kickoffs and field goals if the season started today.

Key tidbit there: That's true freshman Keenan Allen at receiver next to Jones, which confirms the scuttlebutt coming out of practices that a number of freshmen are in the mix.

As for defense:
A few days ago, Tedford said Keith Browner was the starter at weakside linebacker. But today he said true freshman Dave Wilkerson is still in the mix there. Tedford also said Kendrick Payne is probably the starter at nose tackle, but it is still competitive with Derrick Hill and Aaron Tipoti in the mix.

Tedford said both corner positions are still up in the air, with Darian Hagan, Steve Williams, Bryant Nnabufie and Marc Anthony competing for the two spots.

Another true freshman in Wilkerson. Payne ahead of Hill is a bit newsy, too, but that's three pretty good nose tackles, which is a key position to keep fresh in a 3-4 defense. As for cornerback, my money is on the first two -- Hagan and Williams -- but it's not like I've seen them practice this month.