Pac-12 players to watch as the conference gets ready to splinter across the country

Fri, Apr 26, 2024

Pac-12 players to watch as the conference gets ready to splinter across the country

The Pac-12 will splinter apart before fall camp starts, with all but two teams heading to new conferences.

The conference, as it stands now, still has plenty of talented players even if they will be playing in new leagues next season.

A few players to keep an eye on as 10 of the conference's 12 teams move on to new conferences:

ARIZONA: WR Tetairoa McMillan. One of the highest-rated recruits in program history two years ago, McMillan has lived up to the hype. The 6-foot-5 receiver from Hawaii finished with 90 catches for 1,402 yards and 10 TDs last season. He has a bond with quarterback Noah Fifita, who is back though their coach, Jedd Fisch, is now at Washington.

ARIZONA STATE: RB Cam Skattebo. The hard-running senior had a superb first season after transferring from Sacramento State. Skattebo was one of the nation's most versatile players, running for 788 yards and nine TDs while adding 24 catches for 286 yards. He also started two games at quarterback and is a pooch-punt specialist.

CALIFORNIA: RB Jaydn Ott. The Bears may have finished in the middle of the Pac-12 last season, but Ott was one of the league's best running backs. The 6-foot, 210-pound junior ran for 1,362 yards and 12 TDs, caught 24 passes for 157 yards and had a kick return for a touchdown.

READ MORE Pac-12 football programs go through one last spring before heading in different directions Here are 14 players to watch next season across the Southeastern Conference Starting QBs return for SEC's top 4 from last season as other teams turn to backups, transfers

COLORADO: WR/DB Travis Hunter. One of the nation's few two-way stars, Hunter had an immediate impact after following coach Deion Sanders from Jacksonville State. Hunter had 57 receptions for 721 yards and five touchdowns, and also happened to be the team leader with three interceptions. He's a game changer on both sides of the ball.

OREGON: WR Tez Johnson. The speedy receiver had quite the first season after transferring from Troy, setting the Oregon single-season record with 86 catches. He finished with 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns. Johnson will have to work with a new quarterback now that Bo Nix, his adoptive brother, is headed to the NFL.

OREGON STATE: OL Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan. The Beavers have plenty of holes to fill, including quarterback and running back after DJ Uiagalelei and Damien Martinez transferred. Christian-Lichtenhan could provide some stability on the offensive line. The Colorado transfer started 11 games last season and his 827 snaps led the team.

STANFORD: LB Jahsiah Galvan. The Northern Iowa transfer should have an immediate impact on the Cardinal's defense. Galvan led the Panthers with 77 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, with an interception and a forced fumble. He had two game with at least 10 tackles last season.

UCLA: LB Joseph Vaughn. The Bruins lost one of the nation's best defensive players in Laiatu Latu to the NFL, but Vaughn could help soften the blow. The 6-3, 238-pound senior had 88 tackles at Yale last season, including 13 for loss. He also had three interceptions, forced three fumbles and had an 85-yard interception return against Sacred Heart.

USC: WR Zachariah Branch. The Trojans have a big hole to fill now that Caleb Williams is gone to the NFL, but Branch should provide a boost to whoever wins the starting quarterback job. Branch is a big-play threat at receiver, but is most dangerous as a kick returner. He was all-Pac-12 as a return specialist after averaging 18.4 yards per kick return and 20.8 per punt return, scoring a touchdown in each.

UTAH: QB Cameron Rising. The 6-2 senior has been prolific when he's been healthy. Rising was a finalist for the Davey O'Brien and the Maxwell awards in 2022, but suffered a severe knee injury in the Rose Bowl that kept him from playing last season. Rising will be in his seventh college season, thanks to the pandemic.

WASHINGTON: QB Will Rogers. The Huskies have a huge hole to fill in coach Jedd Fisch's first season, needing to replace Heisman Trophy finalist Michael Penix Jr. Rogers should do just fine in Seattle. He had a prolific career at Mississippi State, leaving the school as the SEC's second-leading career passer with 12,315 yards.

WASHINGTON STATE: QB Zevi Eckhaus. Like the Huskies, the Cougars have a quarterback to replace with Cam Ward now in Miami. Eckhaus could be the answer after throwing for 2,907 yards along with 28 TDs and seven interceptions at Bryant last season.


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