Conference Preview: PAC-12

Conference Preview: PAC-12

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

Pac-12 Fantasy Preview

First-Team

QB: Kedon Slovis, USC 

RB: Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State 

RB: Max Borghi, Washington State

WR: Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC 

WR: Drake London, USC 

TE: Cade Otton, Washington

Second-Team

QB: Jayden Daniels, Arizona State 

RB: CJ Verdell, Oregon 

RB: Demetric Felton, UCLA 

WR: Tyler Vaughns, USC 

WR: Frank Darby, Arizona State 

TE: Cam McCormick, Oregon

Third-Team

QB:  Tristan Gebbia, Oregon State 

RB: Richard Newton, Washington 

RB: DeaMonte Trayanum, Arizona State

WR: Puka Nacua, Washington 

WR: Johnny Johnson, Oregon 

TE: Brant Kuithe, Utah 

Sleepers

Jake Bentley, QB, Utah Bentley, a grad transfer from South Carolina, missed most of last season after suffering an injury in the season-opener, but he threw for more than 3,100 yards and 27 touchdowns in his last full season in 2018. Despite having yet to play a down for the Utes, Bentley was named a team captain. His extensive experience going up against SEC defenses should help ease the adjustment to a new team under this season's unusual circumstances.

DeaMonte Trayanum, RB, Arizona State Arizona State coach Herm Edwards is not afraid of throwing freshmen into the mix and Trayanum is the next one to get a shot. He'll step into the role vacated by when the Sun Devil's single-season rushing leader Eno Benjamin decided to forgo his senior year and declare for the draft. Trayanum's transition to the collegiate level will be eased by playing next to talented sophomore quarterback Jaylan Daniels, who will draw most of the focus from opposing defenses.

Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford Wilson's breakout season last year where he led his team in receiving was overshadowed by injuries to the quarterback position and his team's struggles as Stanford failed to reach a bowl game for the first time since 2008. This season brings renewed optimism to Palo Alto thanks in part to the emergence of quarterback Davis Mills. If the former five-star quarterback recruit lives up to the hype, Wilson will be the major beneficiary as his go-to receiver.

Trevon Bradford, WR, Oregon State Replacing Isaiah Hodgins may be Oregon State's biggest challenge this season, at least on offense. Bradford is primed to step up and take over as the top receiver in the offense. Bradford was a productive complement to Hodgins in 2018 before injuries derailed his 2019 campaign. Bradford will now get a chance to be the top target in an offense that could spend a lot of time playing from behind. 

Brant Kuithe, TE, Utah Kuithe established himself as the top receiving threat on the Utes with 34 receptions for 602 yards and six scores last year. He also showed his versatility by becoming a strong short-yardage rushing option adding three rushing scores. Utah's offense will be in flux this year, with a new quarterback under center and a new starting running back, but Kuithe has a chance to provide stability as the new starters get up to speed.

Busts

Max Borghi, RB, Washington State   Borghi was a touchdown machine under former coach Mike Leach and the fast-paced offense, reaching the end zone 28 times across his first two seasons in Pullman. Leach is gone and while his new coach Nick Rolovich brings a strong offensive pedigree, Borghi and the Cougars have had limited time to adapt to the new scheme. And with a shortened schedule, there will be limited opportunities to iron out any wrinkles. 

Jacob Sirmon, QB, Washington Sirmon is the presumptive starter in Seattle, but new coach Jimmy Lake is letting the quarterback competition drag until right before the start of the season. The four-way quarterback competition could lead to a short leash for Sirmon if he struggles early. Washington's offense will be full of new faces after losing last year's top two receiving options and its leading rusher.

Tyler Shough, QB, Oregon Shough will benefit from his team's top three rushing options returning, which will take the pressure off of the first-year starter. But with so much talent to run the ball, he might spend his first season under center asked to manage games and his more experienced teammates go out and win the games.

Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA Felton finally gets his chance to start after playing behind Joshua Kelley the last two years. But while Kelley excelled despite the lackluster talent around him, Felton's numbers when he did take the field were more pedestrian as he averaged a meager 3.8 yards per carry last year. Felton will also be contending with emerging star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who is the more capable runner out of the Bruins' backfield.

Stephen Carr/Vavae Malepeai, RB, USC USC's two senior backs return to once again share the running load in an offense predicted to be among the best in the conference. The Trojans are loaded on offense, but the team's focus will be on the passing game and getting all of its talented wideouts the ball. This could limit the carries Carr and Malepeai will see, and the duo will already cut into each other's workload. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ethan Padway
Padway covers college football for RotoWire. He is a firm believer that teams should go for it on fourth down.
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