USC Trojans: California Golden Bears
Here's a look at how programs in the Pac-12 are faring on the recruiting trail heading into national signing day on Feb. 4.
ESPN 300 commitments: 1
Who they have: The Wildcats hit it big with their top two commitments in ESPN 300 offensive tackle Keenan Walker and ESPN JC 50 defensive tackle Anthony Fotu. Arizona also will add four-star tackle Cody Creason, three-star tackle Harper Sherman and three-star guards Alex Kosinski and Nathan Eldrige to the offensive line. There are a number of skill players on both sides of the ball, including running backs Orlando Bradford and Darick Holmes Jr., cornerbacks Shun Brown, Anthony Mariscal, Samuel Morrison and Dane Cruikshank, wide receiver Cedric Peterson and athletes Antonio Parks and Brion Anduze.
Who they want: There aren't many spots left in this class for the Wildcats, but there are a few important names left on the board. The wide receiver spot could see another addition with Jaylinn Hawkins, though rival Arizona State will put up a fight there. Arizona also will look to continue its run of success in Louisiana, as teammates Arthur McGinnis and Darrell Clark (New Orleans/Warren Easton) are two of the top prospects left for the Wildcats, as well as teammates of Arizona commit Kendal Franklin.
To read the rest of our Pac-12 recruiting class breakdowns, click here .
Nearly 90 recruits -- including 10 ESPN 300 prospects -- made commitments to the Pac-12 since the start of June, as the conference recruiting race heated up alongside the weather this summer. Not surpisingly, even with the boon over the past two and a half months, the Pac-12 still lags behind other conferences when it comes to sheer commitment numbers. Many Pac-12 programs have become content to wait until the season, or after the season, to put an emphasis on official visits and commitments. At this point, 35 programs hold commitments from 16 or more recruits, and only one of those -- Arizona -- resides in the Pac-12.
When it came to the breakdown of where teams would finish, again it was a pretty clear agreement: most media had Oregon and Stanford as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the North Division and UCLA and USC as their counterparts in the South Division.
So, we wanted to ask you: which matchup do you think you will be watching when it all comes down to it on Dec. 5?
Will it be:
Oregon-UCLA: This would be a rematch of an Oct. 11 game that would match up (what could be) an explosive and dynamic Oregon run game against some of the best linebackers in the country -- Myles Jack, Eric Kendrick, we’re looking at you, can you handle Marcus Mariota, Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner? It would be great to be able to see Mariota and Brett Hundley on the same field twice this season as they battle it out for NFL draft status, top quarterback in the Pac-12/nation, etc. etc.
Oregon-USC: These teams don’t play during the regular season, and if you can say that you don’t want to see USC defensive end Leonard Williams get after Mariota and the Oregon offensive line, then you are probably the kind of person who doesn’t like puppies, apple pie or happiness. This could be one of the best battles-within-a-battle to watch all season, regardless of conference. No doubt football fans all over the country would tune in to see what could be the best defensive lineman and the best quarterback battle for 60 minutes.
Stanford-UCLA: Could we see two teams play in back-to-back weekends? If Stanford wins the North and UCLA wins the South, that would be the case. They would close out the regular season on Friday, Nov. 28 in Los Angeles and then meet again a bit further north at Levi’s Stadium the following weekend. If you are not completely trusting of Oregon and its ability to close out a season, maybe this is the pick to make. Stanford has been the underdog before and has done pretty well.
Stanford-USC: This would be a great rematch. These teams play in Week 2, but can you imagine how different they would be by the championship game? The growth that happens between Sept. 6 and Dec. 5 would just be ridiculous, and it would be fun to compare these two games side-by-side and say, “Yes, this is where this team has grown the most over a season.” A Steve Sarkisian-David Shaw dual-duel is completely conceivable and would be fun to watch.
Other: Those are the front-runners in the conference, but could we see some surprises? Trap games exist for all four of those teams, and with coachs like Chris Petersen or Todd Graham, you can't completely count out their teams. Could Washington sneak into a matchup with UCLA or USC or someone else? Could Arizona State appear in the championship game for the second season in a row? It’s all possible. But is it probable? You decide.
- A preview of the Arizona tight ends.
- De'Marieya Nelson is stepping into a starting role well at Arizona State.
- Some reactions to the news of Cal's AD stepping down.
- There are no major uniform changes for Colorado coming.
- Oshay Dunmore has transferred to Illinois State.
- The Brandin Cooks high expectations train continues.
- One writer thinks Josh Mauro could get signed by the Steelers.
- UCLA picked up a running back commitment on Monday.
- Predictions for some of USC's early Pac-12 games.
- Who belongs on the Utah football's Mount Rushmore?
- Could Marcus Peters be UW's defensive MVP in 2014?
- Will Chester Su'a realize his potential this season?
- More on Orlando Bradford's commitment, plus other Arizona recruiting notes.
- Arizona State picked up a commitment from a three-star OLB.
- How fans will remember Cal's Deandre Coleman.
- A slimmed-down Mike MacIntyre sees a bright Buffs future.
- The guy who flew the "Go Ducks" banner at Oregon State's graduation is very sorry.
- Brandin Cooks is getting high praise from Drew Brees.
- Stanford updates: freshmen reporting, a kicker commits and a Remound Wrigh u
- Las Vegas says UCLA is going to win quite a few games in 2014.
- And Vegas is saying the same thing about USC.
- Utah is extending its recruiting reach through camps.
- Washington has announced a new deal with a radio station.
- What recruit Marvell Tell could do for the Cougars if he were to commit.
- Looking at the future (very far in the future) Pac-12 schedules.
Who really deserves to claim the title of "Running Back U" for the 2000s?
1. Arkansas (104 points)
In perhaps the biggest upset at any position, Arkansas can call itself “Running Back U” for the 2000s. Certainly Darren McFadden played the biggest role in the Razorbacks’ claim, but he got an assist from Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. Those former backfield mates are among six Arkansas running backs who have been drafted since 2001, helping the Hogs barely edge Oklahoma for the top spot.
Award winners: McFadden, Walker (2006, 2007), Camp (2007).
Consensus All-Americans: McFadden (2006, 2007).
First-team all-conference: Fred Talley (2002), Cedric Cobbs (2003), Darren McFadden (2005, 2006, 2007).
NFL first-round draft picks: Jones (2008), McFadden (2008).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Cobbs (Round 4, 2004), Knile Davis (Round 3, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Hillis (Round 7, 2008), Kiero Small (Round 7, 2014).
2. Oklahoma (102 points)
When someone like Adrian Peterson has been on your campus, you have to start there when discussing Oklahoma running backs. But one of the main reasons the Sooners racked up such a considerable point total is the Big 12’s unusual practice of honoring fullbacks on its all-conference team. In addition to the Petersons and DeMarco Murrays, there are also several blocking backs included in the Sooners’ 12 all-conference running backs who made our list.
Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Peterson (2004).
First-team all-conference: Quentin Griffin (2002), Peterson (2004, 2005, 2006), J.D. Runnels (2005), Brody Eldridge (2007), DeMarco Murray (2008, 2010), Matt Clapp (2008), Trey Millard (2011, 2012, 2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Peterson (2007).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Griffin (Round 4, 2003), Murray (Round 3, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Runnels (Round 6, 2006), Patrick (Round 7, 2008), Trey Millard (Round 7, 2014).
3. Alabama (100 points)
Arkansas’ Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams had better pick it up this season, or the Alabama train is going to roll to the top spot. The Crimson Tide once again has one of the nation’s most talented backfields with T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry set to join the likes of Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy as top point producers from Alabama.
Award winners: Ingram, Heisman (2009); Richardson, Walker (2011).
Consensus All-Americans: Ingram (2009), Richardson (2011).
First-team all-conference: Kenneth Darby (2005), Ingram (2009), Richardson (2011), Lacy (2012), Yeldon (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Ingram (2011), Richardson (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Le’Ron McClain (Round 4, 2007), Glen Coffee (Round 3, 2009), Lacy (Round 2, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Ahmaad Galloway (Round 7, 2003), Darby (Round 7, 2007), Brad Smelley (Round 7, 2012).
4. Auburn (86 points)
Auburn hasn’t been as flashy as its in-state rival -- the Tigers don’t have a single award winner or consensus All-American in the 2000s -- but few schools have been as consistent at developing solid tailbacks. Perhaps the most memorable names are the stars from the undefeated 2004 team -- Ronnie Brown and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams -- but Rudi Johnson, Kenny Irons, Ben Tate and Tre Mason all made big impacts at Auburn, as well.
Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: None.
First-team all-conference: Johnson (2000), Williams (2003, 2004), Brown (2004), Irons (2005, 2006), Michael Dyer (2011), Mason (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Brown (2005), Williams (2005).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Heath Evans (Round 3, 2001), Johnson (Round 4, 2001), Irons (Round 2, 2007), Tate (Round 2, 2010), Mason (Round 3, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jay Prosch (Round 6, 2014).
4. Wisconsin (86 points)
Montee Ball is Wisconsin’s only major award winner and consensus All-America tailback from the 2000s, but the Badgers have an impressive tradition of turning out 1,000-yard rushers. Among the program’s top producers from this era are 2001 first-round pick Michael Bennett, Brian Calhoun and Anthony Davis, among others. Ball posted huge yardage and touchdown totals in 2011 and 2012 -- which explains why he was a two-time All-American and won the 2012 Doak Walker Award -- but it’s the run of consistency at running back that makes Wisconsin a producer of top rushers.
Award winners: Ball, Walker (2012).
Consensus All-Americans: Ball (2011, 2012).
First-team all-conference: Davis (2001), Calhoun (2005), P.J. Hill (2006), John Clay (2009), Ball (2011, 2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: Bennett (2001).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Calhoun (Round 3, 2006), Ball (Round 2, 2013), James White (Round 4, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Davis (Round 7, 2005), Bradie Ewing (Round 5, 2012).
6. Oregon (82 points)
Although the Ducks have ranked among the nation’s top programs over the past half-decade, LaMichael James’ 2010 Doak Walker Award is the only major award that an Oregon player has won at any position in the 2000s. James is the Ducks’ top point producer out of the backfield in recent years, but they also won points with backs like Maurice Morris and Onterrio Smith before Chip Kelly’s rushing attack turned Oregon into the offensive juggernaut that we see today.
Award winners: James, Walker (2010).
Consensus All-Americans: James (2010), Kenjon Barner (2012).
First-team all-conference: Smith (2002), Jonathan Stewart (2007), James (2010, 2011), Barner (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: Stewart (2008).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Morris (Round 2, 2002), Smith (Round 4, 2003), LaMichael James (Round 2, 2012), De’Anthony Thomas (Round 4, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Barner (Round 6, 2013).
7. USC (78 points)
Reggie Bush was actually a two-time All-American, but we aren’t factoring the 2004 nod he received because that was as an all-purpose player, not a running back. Nonetheless, Bush’s standout 2005 season was the main points driver as the Trojans cracked the top 10 largely because of the former No. 2 overall NFL pick’s accomplishments. It bears mentioning, however, that USC has already had eight running backs drafted in the 2000s.
Award winners: Bush, Heisman (2005), Camp (2005), Walker (2005).
Consensus All-Americans: Bush (2005).
First-team all-conference: Bush (2004, 2005).
NFL first-round draft picks: Bush (2006).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Justin Fargas (Round 3, 2003), LenDale White (Round 2, 2006), Joe McKnight (Round 4, 2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Malaefou Mackenzie (Round 7, 2003), David Kirtman (Round 5, 2006), Allen Bradford (Round 6, 2011), Stanley Havili (Round 7, 2011).
8. Penn State (72 points)
Larry Johnson’s huge 2002 season accounts for much of Penn State’s point production -- he generated 52 points between winning three national awards, becoming a consensus All-American, winning first-team all-conference honors and getting drafted in the 2003 first round -- but the Nittany Lions have had five running backs drafted and Evan Royster also won all-conference honors in 2009.
Award winners: Johnson, Camp (2002), Maxwell (2002), Walker (2002).
Consensus All-Americans: Johnson (2002).
First-team all-conference: Johnson (2002), Royster (2009).
NFL first-round draft picks: Johnson (2003).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Omar Easy (Round 4, 2002), Michael Robinson (Round 4, 2006), Tony Hunt (Round 3, 2007).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Royster (Round 6, 2011).
9. Oklahoma State (70 points)
There’s nothing flashy about Oklahoma State’s point production here. No national awards, and just Kendall Hunter among its All-Americans. But the Cowboys have been outstanding at producing all-conference running backs, with Hunter (twice) and Tatum Bell ranking among their eight backs who made the coaches’ first team.
Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Hunter (2010.
First-team all-conference: Bell (2003), Dantrell Savage (2007), Hunter (2008, 2010), Keith Toston (2009), Bryant Ward (2009, 2010), Joseph Randle (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Bell (Round 2, 2004), Vernand Morency (Round 3, 2005), Hunter (Round 4, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Randle (Round 5, 2013).
10. California (66 points)
Considering how Cal shares a conference with splashy programs like Oregon and USC, perhaps it’s understandable that its success developing tailbacks might fly a bit under the radar. But just look at the Bears’ résumé, starting with Marshawn Lynch, Jahvid Best and J.J. Arrington. There have been some enormously productive tailbacks who got their start in Berkeley.
Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Arrington (2004).
First-team all-conference: Adimchinobe Echemandu (2003), Arrington (2004), Lynch (2006), Justin Forsett (2007), Best (2008).
NFL first-round draft picks: Lynch (2007), Best (2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Arrington (Round 2, 2005), Shane Vereen (Round 2, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Echemandu (Round 7, 2004), Forsett (Round 7, 2008).
10. Virginia Tech (66 points)
Frank Beamer’s Hokies are another bunch who trotted out productive tailback after productive tailback. Virginia Tech hasn’t won a national award and has only Kevin Jones among its All-America backs, but its list of all-conference backs -- including first-round picks Jones and David Wilson, along with Lee Suggs, Brandon Orr and Ryan Williams -- features some players whose running abilities fit perfectly with Beamer’s winning formula in Blacksburg.
Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Jones (2003).
First-team all-conference: Suggs (2000), Jones (2003), Orr (2006), Williams (2009), Wilson (2011).
NFL first-round draft picks: Jones (2004), Wilson (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Suggs (Round 4, 2003), Williams (Round 2, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jarrett Ferguson (Round 7, 2002), Cedric Humes (Round 7, 2006).
REST OF “RUNNING BACK U” RANKINGS
62 -- Boston College; 60 -- Michigan, Ohio State; 58 -- Stanford; 56 -- LSU, Miami; 52 -- Georgia Tech, Oregon State; 50 -- West Virginia; 48 -- BYU; 44 -- Arizona, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, TCU; 42 -- Texas; 40 -- Clemson, Iowa, Nebraska; 36 -- Kansas State, Rutgers; 32 -- Georgia, Minnesota; 28 -- Florida State, Louisville, Tennessee, UCLA; 26 -- Illinois, Maryland, Syracuse; 24 -- Virginia; 20 -- Colorado, North Carolina; 18 -- Baylor, Mississippi State, Wake Forest; 16 -- Florida, Northwestern, Washington, Washington State; 14 -- Ole Miss, South Carolina, Texas Tech; 12 -- Iowa State, Kentucky; 10 -- Kansas, N.C. State, Texas A&M; 8 -- Missouri, Utah; 6 -- Arizona State, Duke, Indiana, Notre Dame; 2 -- Vanderbilt
- Some of the staggering numbers in Arizona and ASU athletics.
- Arizona State picked up a WR commitment from the deep south.
- Some of Cal's most frustrating opponents over the years.
- Previewing Colorado's quarterback situation in 2014.
- Five 2015 recruits who could join Taj Griffin at Oregon.
- OSU players surprised students to promote reading and education.
- Panthers depth chart analysis and where former Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney fits.
- Former UCLA LB Aaron Porter might be transferring to WSU.
- A quick look at each USC position group.
- Former Utah CB Keith McGill signed a four-year deal with the Raiders.
- Fantasy football breakdown of RB's, Bishop Sankey comes in at No. 15.
- A look at the Pac-12's second-year coaches.
- More on Arizona's TV schedule this fall.
- Todd Graham's value extends beyond the field.
- Damaria Drew waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
- Previewing Colorado's defensive line.
- Meet the man who knows what Oregon will wear this fall.
- Fantasy football outlook: Brandin Cooks.
- Three-part series on Lance Anderson, Stanford's ace recruiter.
- There's a lot of buzz around Brett Hundley.
- Update on former USC RB Ty Isaac.
- More on Utah's TV schedule.
- Chris Petersen did an online chat with the Seattle Times.
- Connor Halliday is poised for a big season.
While it would prove impossible to live up to Friday’s showing -- or even last year’s remarkable output of nine invitations to The Opening -- this year’s edition of the Northern California NFTC did result in six Opening invitations, as well as a dominant performance from several ESPN 300 defensive tackles, an ESPN 300 wide receiver who found a connection with a future Notre Dame quarterback, and a tight end who could help shape the Pac-12 recruiting race -- all during an event that had a decidedly island vibe.
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Here's a look at where each school stands:
2015 commits: 6
Players: Keenan Walker, OT, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Taren Morrison, RB, Mesa, Ariz.; Darick Holmes Jr., RB, Westlake Village, Calif.; Finton Connolly, DT, Gilbert, Ariz.; Alex Kosinski, OG, Larkspur, Calif.; Ricky McCoy, TE, Fresno, Calif.
2016 commits: 2
Players: Trevor Speights, RB, McAllen, Texas; Shea Patterson, QB, Shreveport, La.
2015 commits: 6
Players: Brady White, QB, Newhall, Calif.; Morie Evans, ATH, Huntsville, Texas; Bryce Perkins, QB, Chandler, Ariz.; Nick Ralston, RB, Argyle, Texas; Tony Nicholson, ATH, Grand Prairie, Texas; Raymond Epps, TE (JC), Yuma, Ariz.
2017 commit: 1
Player: Loren Mondy, DE, Mansfield, Texas
2015 commits: 4
Players: Austin Aaron, WR, Napa, Calif.; Greyson Bankhead, WR, Corona, Calif.; Malik Psalms, CB, Chino Hills, Calif.; Lonny Powell, RB, Sacramento, Calif.
2015 commits: 3
Players: T.J. Fehoko, DE, Salt Lake City; N.J. Falo, OLB, Sacramento; Dillon Middlemiss, OG, Arvada, Colo.
2015 commits: 4
Players: Taj Griffin, RB, Powder Springs, Ga.; Zach Okun, OG, Newbury Park, Calif.; Jake Breeland, WR, Mission Viejo, Calif.; Shane Lemieux, OT, Yakima, Wash.
2015 commits: 3
Players: Tyrin Ferguson, OLB, New Orleans; Kyle Haley, OLB, Anaheim, Calif.; Treshon Broughton, CB (JC), Tustin, Calif.
2015 commits: 3
Players: Arrington Farrar, S, College Park, Ga.; Christian Folau, ILB, Salt Lake City; Rex Manu, DT, Mililani, Hawaii
2015 commits: 7
Players: Josh Rosen, QB, Bellflower, Calif.; Alize Jones, TE, Las Vegas; Tevita Halalilo, OG, Moreno Valley, Calif.; L.J. Reed, WR, Elk Grove, Calif.; Jaason Lewis, ATH, Virginia Beach, Va.; Bolu Olorunfunmi, RB, Clovis, Calif.; Victor Alexander, ILB, Jacksonville, Fla.
2015 commits: 5
Players: Chuma Edoga, OT, Powder Springs, Ga.; Ricky Town, QB, Ventura, Calif.; David Sills, QB, Elkton, Md.; Taeon Mason, CB, Pasadena, Calif.; Roy Hemsley, OT, Los Angeles
2015 commits: 7
Players: Jake Grant, OT, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Tuli Wily-Matagi, ATH, Kahuku, Hawaii; Donzale Roddie, WR, Paramount, Calif.; Chayden Johnson, K, South Jordan, Utah; Brandon Snell, WR (JC), Miami; Corey Butler, WR (JC), Wilmington, Calif.; Zach Lindsay, OT (JC), Kaysville, Utah
2015 commits: 3
Players: Jake Browning, QB, Folsom, Calif.; Trey Adams, OT, Wenatchee, Wash.; Myles Gaskin, RB, Seattle
2017 commit: 1
Player: Tathan Martell, QB, Poway, Calif.
2015 commits: 5
Players: Thomas Toki, DT, Mountain View, Calif.; Austin Joyner, RB, Marysville, Wash.; Tyler Hilinski, QB, Upland, Calif.; Kameron Powell, S, Upland, Calif.; James Williams, RB, Burbank, Calif.
The 2015 quarterback class in California not only has a chance to shape the recruiting rankings in February, but also has an opportunity to shift college football's national landscape for the next few years. While the Golden State has produced more than its share of quarterbacks over the years, not in recent memory has there been a group as deep and talented as the 2015 crop. The Pac-12 is looking to capitalize on the array of talent at the position, but programs from across the country are looking to pry a few of the signal-callers out of the area.
Here are the ESPN 300 quarterbacks from the state:
Josh Rosen -- No. 1 pocket passer -- 6-4, 200 -- committed to UCLA
Rosen was an early lean to Stanford and gave significant looks to Cal and Michigan before selecting the Bruins in late March. Rosen led his high school to an undefeated season and state championship as a junior, one year after breaking onto the national recruiting scene as a sophomore. As the top-ranked quarterback in the nation, Rosen's commitment to UCLA was huge for the Bruins as he has quickly become one of the top recruiters in this class.
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- A look at Jerrard Randall and Jordan Allen from an LSU writer.
- The ASU athletic department plucked another guy from the NFL.
- Cal saw a slight increase in its APR.
- CU's sports information team was named one of the nation's best.
- Breaking down what De'Anthony Thomas brings to the Chiefs.
- Oregon State names football captains for the 2014 season.
- Ryan Hewitt's versatility will be a huge benefit in Bengals' camp.
- Jim Mora is hungry for a shot at the Pac-12 title.
- USC picked up a four-star defensive tackle commitment.
- What the Jets are getting in Utah LB/DE Trevor Reilly.
- What Bucs fans can expect from Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
- Tom Fornelli breaks down the buzz of Cougar football.
That got the Pac-12 blog thinking about where exactly all of those passes were going. Mannion had a terrific receiver in Brandin Cooks, but he also had a pretty great tight end in Connor Hamlett. Mariota had great receivers, but also had De’Anthony Thomas involved in the pass game. USC and Arizona State seemed to get their running backs and tight ends more involved, but how much more involved?
Well, the Pac-12 blog found answers to those questions and more.
As a whole, the conference's running backs were more involved in the pass game than its tight ends. Running backs accounted for an average of 21.8 percent of the receptions conference-wide. The low end of the conference was Colorado, whose backs made just 32 of its 235 receptions (13.6 percent). The high end was Arizona State, whose running backs accounted for 124 of its 309 receptions (40.1 percent).
But the running backs didn’t always turn those catches into yards. Though the position group accounted for 21.8 percent of the receptions, it only accounted for 16 percent of the total receiving yardage. With the Sun Devils throwing so often to their running backs, it seems pretty natural that they would have the highest percentage of their team’s yardage, which they did (32.3 percent). However, they weren’t the most efficient running backs in the conference -- that award goes to the USC running backs, who accounted for 27.2 percent of their team’s catches and 31 percent of their team’s receiving yardage.
The teams that were the closest to the Pac-12 average were Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State. Of these running backs, UCLA’s were the most efficient, accounting for 18 percent of the teams receiving yardage. Washington State’s running backs tallied 13.5 percent of the receiving yardage while Stanford’s backs picked up just 9.2 percent of their receiving yardage despite accounting for 21.1 percent of the team catches.
Conference-wide, tight ends were targeted about half as much as the running backs. On average, they picked up 9.5 percent of the catches, but were efficient as a group, tallying 10.5 percent of the Pac-12’s yardage.
Oregon State and Washington targeted tight ends the most. Beavers tight ends had 22.0 percent of the team's catches and Huskies TEs had 15.2 percent. The tight ends from those teams also gained the most yardage, though they flipped spots. Washington’s tight ends accounted for 20.2 percent of its team’s receiving yardage and Oregon State’s accounted for 19.1 percent of its team’s receiving yardage.
The least-involved tight ends can be found on the Arizona, UCLA and Washington State rosters. Those tight ends were either rarely or never involved in the passing game, which makes sense considering the offenses and how deep their respective receiver groups were in 2013.
So where exactly does that leave the wide receivers in this conference? If it’s good to be a running back at Arizona State, does that mean it’s not great to be a receiver there? Or if it’s great to be a tight end at Oregon State, does that mean it’s not great if you’re a receiver? (Answer to that last question: If you’re a receiver not named Brandin Cooks, then yes.)
On average, receivers accounted for 68.5 percent of the receptions in the league. The low end in this statistic would be Arizona State (47 percent), Oregon State (55.2 percent) and USC (59.6 percent). The high end is Arizona (84.1 percent), and then a few schools in the high 70s -- Washington State, UCLA and Colorado.
It comes as no surprise that this is where the biggest jump is in yardage. It’s a lot easier to pick up major yards on a post than a pitch. Because of that, the wide receivers accounted for 75.2 percent of the receiving yardage. Again, Arizona holds the high spot here with 90.2 percent of its team’s receiving yardage from the receivers. And again, Arizona State is on the low end, with just 51.6 percent of its receiving yardage coming from the receivers.
It’s good to be a quarterback in the Pac-12, which means it’s good to be a receiver here, too. But, if you look deeper at the numbers, how good it is really depends on who you are and where you go.
- The best value picks in the NFL draft -- some love for Arizona and Stanford.
- Arizona and Arizona State have a good showing in the draft.
- Damariay Drew was arrested and suspended from the Cal team.
- Colorado is looking to renew an old Big 12 rivalry.
- Four Ducks were drafted this weekend. Here's the rundown.
- One writer says the Saints' success rides on Brandin Cooks.
- A breakdown of the six Stanford players who were drafted.
- A one-on-one video interview with Anthony Barr in Minnesota.
- A few guesses at who steps up for USC's drafted players.
- Kyle Whittingham was pleased to see two of his guys drafted.
- Grading the Buccaneers' pick of Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
- John Fullington was picked up by the Packers.
Here is a look at who was selected on Saturday:
DE Cassius Marsh, UCLA: Seattle Seahawks, No. 108 overall pick
Note: Marsh will play for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is friends with UCLA coach Jim Mora.
WR Shaq Evans, UCLA: New York Jets, No. 115
So happy to be a part of the seahawks organization! Can't wait to get to work towards this next super bowl! #gohawks— cassius marsh (@CassiusMarsh) May 10, 2014
Note: Moving from the No. 2 media market to the No. 1, Evans caught a pass in 28 straight games to end his career.
CB Keith McGill, Utah: Oakland Raiders, No. 116
Note: Room for improvement after switching from safety to cornerback in his final season at Utah.
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona: Chicago Bears, No. 117
Note: Draft stock took a hit from slow 40 time and diminished value of running backs in the NFL after running for more than 1,800 yards in his final two seasons.
LB Carl Bradford, Arizona State: Green Bay Packers, No. 121
You already know! Happy to be part of the fam! RT @LanceBriggs: What a draft! Chicago welcome fellow Wildcat and Bear, Ka'Deem Carey!— Ka'Deem Carey (@Kcarey25) May 10, 2014
Note: Left early to become first ASU linebacker drafted since Travis Goethel in 2010 (Raiders).
RB De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon: Kansas City Chiefs, No. 124
Note: Perhaps more so than any other from the conference, it will be interesting to see how his game -- based mostly on speed -- translates to the NFL.
Khairi Fortt, California: New Orleans Saints, No. 126
Note: Penn State transfer was one of two Cal players to get drafted (Richard Rodgers).
OT Cameron Fleming, Stanford: New England Patriots, No. 140
Note: Mild upset that he was drafted before teammate David Yankey, the more decorated player in college. Also, check out this excellent Grantland profile of Fleming leading up to the draft.
DE Taylor Hart, Oregon: Philadelphia Eagles, No. 141
Note: No surprise here. Chip Kelly has not shied away from taking Ducks and Pac-12 players.
OG David Yankey, Stanford: Minnesota Vikings, No. 145
So proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle and reunite with coach kelly!— Taylor Hart (@Taylor_Hart66) May 10, 2014
Note: Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is the father of Stanford offensive lineman Nick Davidson.
Shaquille Richardson, Arizona: Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 157
Note: The Steelers had more defensive backs over the age of 30 than any team in the NFL last season.
S Ed Reynolds, Stanford: Philadelphia Eagles, No. 162
Note: Will join former Stanford teammate Zach Ertz with the Eagles.
OLB Devon Kennard, USC: New York Giants, No. 174
Note: Experienced at both defensive end and outside linebacker, Kennard joins a Giants team that employs a 4-3 defense.
NEW YORK GIANTS!!!! TO GOD BE THE GLORY— Devon Kennard (@DevonKennard42) May 10, 2014
LB Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA: Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 192
Note: On the surface it's a perfect fit. Zumwalt's blue-collar reputation should mesh well in Pittsburgh.
RB Marion Grice, Arizona State: San Diego Chargers, No. 201
Note: Good chance to make the roster as a third-down back.
Tyler Gaffney, Stanford: Carolina Panthers, No. 204
Note: Was a 24th-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, but put baseball dreams on hold to pursue football.
LB Marquis Flowers, Arizona: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 212
Note: Flowers will join a linebacker group that includes former college rival Vontaze Burfict, formerly of Arizona State.
Cincinnati Bengals.....#WeMadeIt— Marquis Flowers (@MrHitThat_2) May 10, 2014
DE Ben Gardner, Stanford: Dallas Cowboys, No. 231
Note: Snubbed from the Senior Bowl, Gardner received all-Pac-12 honors three times and was a first-team selection as a senior.
LB Trevor Reilly, Utah: New York Jets, No. 233
COWBOYS BABAYYYYY!!! Time to get to work— Ben Gardner (@BennyG49) May 10, 2014
Note: Supported wife and two kids during senior season by buying various items, often electronics, online and selling them for more elsewhere.
CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon: Dallas Cowboys, No. 254.
Note: Left with a season of eligibility remaining. Third-to-last pick of the draft.
TBD Arizona State Texas A&M TBD Portland State Washington State TBD Grambling State California TBD Stanford Northwestern TBD Virginia UCLA TBD Arkansas State USC TBD Colorado Hawaii TBD Eastern Washington Oregon