The Pac-12 always has its share of top-flight quarterbacks. Experienced veterans are back like USC’s Cody Kessler, Cal’s Jared Goff and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan. Can Anu Solomon (Arizona) avoid the sophomore jinx? There’s also a huge story line in Oregon with the replacement of Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. How do things breakdown at the quarterback position in the Pac-12?
Projected Starter: Cody Kessler
QB Depth Chart: Kessler, Max Browne, Ricky Town, Sam Darnold
Kessler has been good and productive over his Trojan career. This USC senior has thrown for 6,803 yards, 59 touchdowns and only a dozen interceptions. Last season Kessler completed nearly 70% of his passes for 3,826 yards, 39 touchdowns and five interceptions. Those are huge numbers. If he can duplicate or surpass those totals Southern Cal should have a big year and make a push towards the college football playoff. USC gets the nod over Cal at the top spot because of their better depth behind Kessler.
Projected Starter: Jared Goff
QB Depth Chart: Goff, Chase Forrest, Ross Bowers
Goff is a two-year starter that really had a breakout 2014 campaign in that high octane Bears' offense. Just last season alone he set 15 team passing records. He completed 62% of his passes for 3,973 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only seven picks in 509 attempts. This is coming off a 3,500 yard plus freshman season. He’s poised for an absolutely monster year, especially considering the offensive weapons Cal has surrounded him with. There’s no question Goff will push Kessler for top honors in the conference.
Projected Starter: Anu Solomon
QB Depth Chart: Solomon, Brandon Dawkins, Jerrard Randall, Zach Werlinger
I was blown away by Arizona’s freshman signal caller in 2014. I thought he was absolutely fantastic in year one as a starter for Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcat offense. All he did was pass for 3,793 yards and 28 touchdowns and led Arizona to a 10-win season and a trip to the Pac 12 Championship Game. Hopefully Solomon avoids the sophomore jinx and continues to grow and develop as a quarterback. This program looks like it’s in terrific hands and has a bright future with this kid at the helm.
Projected Starter: Kevin Hogan
QB Depth Chart: Hogan, Ryan Burns, Keller Chryst
Hogan is a 5th year senior who returns for his final season in Palo Alto with a ton of experience and a lot of talent. He’s 24-8 as a starter. Last season Hogan started all 13 games, passing for 2,782 yards and 19 touchdown passes. The prior season he posted similar numbers – 2,630 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes. There is no reason whatsoever why Hogan shouldn't have another big year.
5) Arizona State
Projected Starter: Mike Bercovici
QB Depth Chart: Bercovici, Coltin Gerhart, Brady White, Manny Wilkins
Mike Bercovici started three times in 2014 and posted some good numbers, throwing for 1,455 yards and 12 touchdowns. He made his first career start against UCLA and torched the Bruins defense for 488 yards and three scores. Bercovici also lit up the USC defense for 510 yards and five touchdowns. So it appears that this offense is in good hands for 2015. The Sun Devils also have some talented youngsters like Brady White and Manny Wilkins.
Projected Starter: Vernon Adams
QB Depth Chart: Adams, Jeff Lockie, Ty Griffin, Travis Jonsen,Taylor Alie
It’s a battle at Oregon over the starting quarterback position between transfer Vernon Adams, Jr. and Jeff Lockie. Lockie had a terrific spring and spring game and looks to do battle with Adams over the summer and during fall camp. However, it appears that Adams should win the job. He will arrive on campus this summer after graduating from Eastern Washington and having one more year of eligibility. Adams has put up some impressive numbers, throwing for over 10,000 yards and 110 touchdown passes. He can also run the ball and is a dynamic player. There’s no question he will have to adjust to the Pac 12 game. Whoever it is will have their hands full in replacing Marcus Mariota.
Projected Starter: Sefo Liufau
QB Depth Chart: Liufau, Jordan Gehrke, Cade Apsay, Ty Gangy, Will Fischer-Colbrrie
With Jim Leavitt now running the Colorado defense and stability and good production at quarterback, this is the season we see the Buffaloes make progress. I am not sure how many wins that means but this team and program should be better in 2015, especially on offense with second year starting quarterback Sefo Liufau. Last season he passed for 3,200 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Projected Starter: Travis Wilson
QB Depth Chart: Wilson, Brandon Cox, Conner Manning, Kendal Thompson, Donovon Isom
Wilson has as much playing experience as practically anyone in the Pac-12. Last season he played in all 13 games, passing for 2,170 yards and 18 scores. He also rushed for another 309 yards and five touchdowns. A trio of other quarterbacks also saw some time last year in Brandon Cox, Conner Manning and Kendal Thompson so at least they got their feet wet. Thompson is recovering from a knee injury and didn’t participate in spring ball. Hansen could ultimately emerge as a solid No. 2 after returning from a two year mission.
Projected Starter: Josh Rosen
QB Depth Chart: Rosen, Asianti Woulard, Jake Hall, Aaron Sharp, Mike Fafaul, Jerry Neuheisel
Whether he’s truly ready or not Josh Rosen will be the guy. This former five-star was the top rated quarterback on Scout in the 2015 class. He enrolled early and participated in spring ball. Rosen was 13/17 with two scores and one interception to close out the spring. UCLA head coach Jim Mora stated afterwards that the freshman made a lot of progress during the spring practice session. Rosen has all the physical tools, arm talent and brains to be an outstanding signal caller. Rosen just needs reps and experience. I would love to put him higher but he needs to show it first when the bullets are flying for real for this fall.
10) Washington State
Projected Starter: Luke Falk
QB Depth Chart: Falk, Erik Anderson, Peyton Bender, Connor Enis, Tyler Hilinski
Falk started the final three games for the Cougars and played in six. He finished with 1,859 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He helped guide Washington State past Oregon State after throwing for 471 yards and five touchdowns. Falk is trying to hold off Peyton Bender and begin the season as Mike Leach’s starter. Bender had the better spring of the two.
Projected Starter: Jeff Lindquist
QB Depth Chart: Carta-Samuels, Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist, Jake Browning
Cyler Miles took a leave of absence from the team and may not be back. The starting job appears open. Jeff Lindquist could be the opening game starter who could eventually relinquish the controls over to K.J. Carta-Samuels or Jake Browning. This has been an unsettled position once again for the Huskies and could be in flux until this staff finds a steady, consistent performer.
12) Oregon State
Projected Starter: Seth Collins
QB Depth Chart: Collins, Nick Mitchell, Marcus McMaryion
Gary Andersen inherits a tough situation for this fall campaign at Oregon State. They have a ton of player turnover including the quarterback position. Whatever direction he goes in under center it will be a young and inexperienced player, as the Beavers look to replace Sean Mannion. It’s appears that Seth Collins has the lead at this point after spring ball over Nick Mitchell. Oregon State will be running a no huddle spread attack. These are two young and talented players that just lack experience. Collins is a true freshman and Mitchell is a red-shirt freshman. Collins made a lot of exciting plays this spring but also made a lot of freshman mistakes.
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