Everything should go well, right…?
While we’re settling into the off-season and waiting for the summer months to pass and bring football to our doors, previews for all relevant years are getting hot. While we were looking at what teams are in Pac-12 have the best quarterbacks or better runners now we wanted to take a broader range of questions and determine who is the best overall player in the conference.
What can go wrong?
Of course, this is a subjective list based on past statistics with a tinge of future expectations. These are the 12 players I consider the best in the Pac-12 going into the 2022 season, with several honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: RB Tavion Thomas (Utah)
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Career stats: 337 carries | 2797 yards, 28 TDs
A lot of people look to QB Cameron Rising when they talk about the Utah Utes offense, and rightly so. But RB Tavion Thomas has been impressive lately, with an impressive 21 TDs in 2021, tying Miles Gaskin and Tyler Gaffney for Pac-12 runners in a single season. If he can maintain that dominance in 2022, there’s a real chance he’ll see himself on this list.
Honorable Mention: DE Ron Stone Jr. (Washington state)
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Career stats: 108 tackles | 16.5 TFL | 9.0 bags | 2FF
Looking at the Cougars’ defense, it’s impossible not to notice Ron Stone Jr., who is the conference’s leading player in losses with 11.5 last season. He had a couple of slow years leading up to 2021, but last season he proved he could be a force on the brink and made some changes to Pullman.
Honorable Mention: O. T. Jackson Kirkland (Washington)
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It’s not easy to quantify how good an offensive lineman is because there aren’t any important statistics to judge him by. However, Kirkland was speculated to enter the first few rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft before pulling out due to an ankle injury and deciding to return to school. In 2021, Kirkland was named First Team All-Pac-12, as he was in 2020. There’s a good chance that with another good season, he’ll see himself drafted on Day 1 or Day 2 next spring.
Honorable Mention: QB Tanner McKee (Stanford)
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Career stats: 209 out of 322 | 2389 yards | 15 TD | 7 INT
The stats may not match Tanner McKee as one of the top players in the conference, but that’s where future expectations come into play. Stanford is sure to pick up the pace in 2022, and now McKee has some experience to step up and lead them to success. Expect him to have an impressive season this fall and start talking about him as one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12.
Honorable Mention: DL Tuli Tuipulotu (USC)
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Career stats: 70 tackles | 10 trillion | 7.0 bags | 2FF
With all the flare that USC brings to positions of excellence, it’s easy to overlook the offensive and defensive lines when it comes to outstanding players. However, Tuli Tuipulotu was selected to the 2021 All-Pac-12 First Team with 5.5 sacks and he looks to have another outstanding season in what is likely to be a successful USC team.
Honorable Mention: L. B. Omar Speights (Oregon)
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Career stats: 221 selections | 17 TFL | 5 bags | 3 INT | 3 fr.
Omar Speights is a veteran linebacker who certainly doesn’t show up on the Pac-12 despite his stat-scoring ability. The Oregon State Beavers are on an upward trend, and a lot of that has to do with Spaites’ ability to be a solid defensive player. If they continue to do better next season, expect Spaites to get more recognition over the course of the year.
Honorable Mention: RB Xazavian Valladay (R.A.)
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Career stats: 626 carries | 3274 yards | 19 TD
When it comes to pure numbers, you won’t find many players in Pac-12 who do it better than Xazavian Valladay. Of course, he did it in Mountain West, playing four seasons with the Wyoming Cowboys. However, three seasons for 1,000 yards with 21 total touchdowns is not something you can turn your nose over, and Arizona State has clearly got a dynamic part in the backfield thanks to a transfer portal in 2022.
Honorable Mention: QB Bo Nix (OR)
Career stats: 628 out of 1057 | 7,251 yards | 39 TD | 16 INT
Bo Nicks has all the skills to become one of the best Pac-12 players and possibly one of the best quarterbacks in the country. We’re just waiting to see if he can put it all together. With a new coaching staff in Oregon and a rekindled relationship with offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, Eugene has hope that the Knicks will hit their ceiling with the Ducks this season.
Honorable Mention: WR Jacob Cowing (AZ)
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Career statistics: 141 lov | 2595 yards | 13 TD
It’s a little hard to predict what we’ll see from Jacob Cowing in 2022 as his previous production has been FCS level with UTEP. He led the Miners with 1,367 yards in 2021 and will now look to form a dangerous duo with new Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura. If all goes well, Cowing could be considered one of the best WRs in the conference.
No. 12 – QB Cameron Ward (Washington State)
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Career stats: 4,648 passing yards | 47 TD | 10 INT
As with Jacob Cowing, it’s a little hard to predict what impact Washington State QB Cameron Ward’s move to the FBS level will have, but he definitely has the intangibles to be special. As one of the best players in the transfer portal rankings, Ward came from Incarnate Word after an incredible season with 4,658 rushing yards and 47 touchdowns last year alone. Whether he can do the same in the Pac-12 remains to be seen, but he will certainly grab our attention this year.
No. 11 – TE Brant Quite (Utah)
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Career stats: 129 shots | 1676 yards | 13 TD
You might argue that either TE from Utah – Brant Kuite or Dalton Kincaid – could be on this list as they are the top two TEs back at the conference. However, Kuite plays a big part in the passing game and plays all over the field for Utes. With Britain’s best WR Covey now out of the attack, expect Kuite to take on a larger role and break out even more this season.
No. 10 – OT Andrew Voorhees (USC)
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Again, it’s hard to come up with tangible stats with an offensive lineman, but USC’s Andrew Voorhees is one of the most solid OTs in the conference and will be a huge asset to the Trojans if they’re going to have the success they’re aiming for in 2022. According to PFF, the 6-foot-tall veteran 6″ received an overall selection score of 92.4. He was also the only qualified lineman in the country with a 90-plus rating in both run blocker and pass blocker.
No. 9 – DL Brandon Dorlus (OR)
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Career stats: 44 tackles | 11 TFL | 4.5 bags
When looking at the Oregon defense, everyone looks either at Noah Sewell or talking about what the Ducks are missing when Cavon Thibodeau leaves for the NFL. However, DL Brandon Dorlus still strives to keep this defensive line as dominant as ever. Dorlus was selected to the All-Pac-12 first team last year and is looking to grow into Dan Lanning’s Eugene defense. We’ll see how dominant he can be with a new layout and more room to work with.
No. 8 – RB Travis Dye (USC)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Career stats: 521 carries | 3111 yards | 21 TD
Trying to imagine what Travis Dye can do on offense under Lincoln Riley is very similar to what Noah Sewell can do on defense under Dan Lanning. All the details are made for an extraordinary season, we just have to see if it all comes together. Dai has had a historic career in Oregon, where he is ranked #5 on the all-time best list and will now have a major offensive role that promises to be explosive.
No. 7 – WR Jordan Addison (USC)
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Career stats: 160 shots | 2259 yards | 21 TD
We’ve talked a lot about the USC players that feature prominently on this list. Jordan Addison certainly deserves this ranking as the former winner of the Biletnikoff Award for the best WR in the country in 2021. Pairing him with Caleb Williams is enticing, especially when you add Brenden Rice and Mario Williams to him, which makes him so protective. cannot focus all their attention on one player. The Trojans have put together a deck this year when it comes to skill players, and at the very least it will be fun to watch.
No. 6 – CB Clark Phillips (Utah)
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Career stats: 86 tackles | 15 PBU | 3 INT | 2 TD | 1FF
Clark Phillips is the best returning cornerback in the Pac-12 and after seeing him go head-to-head with Ohio State’s Jackson Smith-Njigba in the Rose Bowl, he should be in the conversation as one of the best cornerbacks. in the country. . In the last 6 games of 2021, Phillips has been the top player outside of the CB in the PFF and he looks forward to another outstanding year with the Utes.
No. 5 – RB Zach Charbonnet (UCLA)
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Career stats: 371 carries | 1987 yards | 25 TD
It’s hard to put another RB ahead of Travis Dye, but we’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen with Dye and Lincoln Riley. We pretty much know what we’re going to get with Zach Charbonnet and Chip Kelly at UCLA and that should be impressive again. Charbonnet was one of only 9 RBs with over 200 rush attempts and 0 fumbles last season and now has more experience with Kelly and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
No. 4 – QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA)
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Career stats: 594 out of 977 | 7,542 yards | 61 TD | 26 INT
Speaking of Dorian Thompson-Robinson, this might be…