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Pac-12 top 25 for 2013: No. 1

8/30/2013

Our countdown of the Pac-12’s top 25 preseason players in 2013 concludes.

A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won’t make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2012 postseason top 25 here.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

2012 numbers: In his redshirt freshman year, Mariota was the league’s most efficient passer and second nationally per ESPN’s QBR rating. He completed 68.5 percent of his throws for 32 touchdowns and 2,677 yards with only six interceptions. He also rushed for 752 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 57.8 yards on the ground. And yes, we didn’t forget, he caught one ball for two yards and a touchdown. That was the beginning of the end for the dynamic Bryan Bennett-to-Marcus Mariota connection.

2012 postseason ranking: No. 1

Making the case for Mariota: He ended 2012 as our No. 1, and we see no reason to penalize him for getting better in the off season. Yes, he should be even better in 2013. With an outstanding line and cast of players around him like De'Anthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla, Josh Huff and a surging Byron Marshall, expect Mariota to build off his incredible numbers that made him an All-American honorable mention last season. Look for the postseason accolades to increase as well -- maybe even the bronze guy with the stiff arm. It's fun to wonder what his numbers might have looked like last year had he not sat out of the second half of a few games because Oregon couldn't help but put up 40-plus points in the first half. And given Oregon's early schedule in 2013 -- it's possible we could see Mark Helfrich treat his quarterback the same way Chip Kelly did last year. Still, as long as he’s running Oregon’s offense with fantastic precision, he’ll put up the kind of dual-threat numbers that Heisman voters love. The fact that Oregon starts the year ranked in the top five and will be a national championship contender helps. In this quarterback-driven league, Mariota stands at the top of his position and the top of our preseason list.

2. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State

3. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

4. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

5. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

6. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

7. Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford

8. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

9. David Yankey, OG, Stanford

10. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State

11. Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford

12. Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State

13. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

14. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

15. Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

16. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

17. Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford

18. Xavier Su'a-Filo, OL, UCLA

19. Morgan Breslin, OLB, USC

20. Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon

21. Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State

22. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

23. Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon

24. Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State

25. Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford