USC, Oregon begins a new era with impact delivery

The Pac-12 has four new coaches coming in for the 2022 season, and they will all likely start transfers in midfield this season.

This is the new normal, right?

That started from scratch with USC and Oregon. The Trojan hired Lincoln Riley and made the transfer portal’s biggest prominence when Caleb Williams follow his coach to USC. Oregon hired Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, and three-year Auburn starter Bo Nix followed him to Eugene.

TROCCHI: Williams’ transfer to USC will accelerate the rebuilding of Riley

Washington coach Kalen DeBoer has moved Michael Penix Jr to Indiana among his starting options, and Washington State’s Jake Dickert has brought in an FCS superstar in Incarnate Word’s Cameron Ward.

Those are top storylines that could have as many as six or seven teams starting midfield transfers in 2022.

What do the rest of the quarterbacks in Pac-12 look like? Sporting News will sort out returners and transfers, with the promise that there will be more this season.


Today we break down the Pac-12. Let’s go in alphabetical order of division.

Pac-12 North

Cal (5-7, 4-5)

Summary for 2021: Cal finished 5-7, and senior quarterback Chase Garbers finished with 2,531 yards, 16 TDs, and eight interceptions. The Garbers are fourth in the convention for the number of passing pitches.

Season 2021-22: The Garbers have entered the NFL Draft, and coach Justin Wilcox and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave are looking for the right answer among the six quarterbacks on the roster. Purdue transfer Jack Plummer will be the leader based on experience, but he’ll get a boost from sophomore Zach Johnson and redshirt freshman Kai Millner.

What to look for in spring: Plummer’s experience makes him a fan of the job, but will he embrace it during the spring internship?

Oregon (10-4, 7-2)

Summary for 2021: The Ducks won the Pac-12 North, and Anthony Brown moved to Boston University to lead the Pac-12 with 2,998 yards of passing. Brown also has 18 TDs and seven interceptions. Ty Thompson played sparingly after Brown.

Season 2021-22: Coach Mario Cristobal left for Miami and was replaced by Lanning. Nix, a three-year starter with 39 TDs and 16 interceptions in his career ups and downs, has moved to Oregon. Duck defender Robby Ashford moves to Auburn.

What to look for in spring: Kenny Dillingham, who spent two seasons at Florida State, replaced Joe Moorhead as offensive coordinator. It can be a bit presumptuous to think that Nix got the job done. Expect Thompson, a four-star player in 2020, to make this a real competition.

Oregon State (7-6, 5-4)

Summary for 2021: Redshirt sophomore Chance Nolan landed the starter job and led the Beavers to a winning record. He finished with 2,677 yards of passes, 19 TDs and 10 interceptions. Colorado Sam Noyer transfer is the main backup option.

Season 2021-22: Attacking coaches Jonathan Smith and Brian Lindgren remain together. Noyer disappeared, and Sam Vidlak moved to Bang Boise. Nolan is still the best choice to start, but Tristan Gebbia and Ben Gulbranson will make it a competition. Travis Throckmorton, a three-star player from Simi Valley, California, had time to break in.

What to look for in spring: Nolan has an element of experience, but Gebbia, who started four games in 2020 before a season-ending injury and didn’t play last season, could feature if healthy.

Stanford (3-9, 2-7)

Summary for 2021: Tanner McKee starts 10 games in 2021. He misses 2 games because of a leg injury. McKee finished with 2,327 yards, 15 TDs and seven interceptions, with the highlight being a 230-yard, 3 TD performance in an extra-time win over Oregon. Unfortunately, the Cardinal lost McKee’s next five games.

Season 2021-22: Is longtime coach David Shaw in the hot seat? Tavita Pritchard is back as attack coordinator, and there’s no destination or exit in the transfer portal. Three-star defender Ashton Daniels is the only QB in the squad for recruitment in 2022.

What to look for in spring: McKee showed lightning but needed to be more consistent. Isaiah Sanders, a graduate from the Air Force, will serve as a reserve.

Washington (4-8, 3-6)

Summary for 2021: Dylan Morris started in 11 games for the Huskies. He finished with 2,458 yards, 14 TDs and 12 interceptions. Five-star freshman Sam Huard saw the action in four games and finished with 241 yards, one TD and four interceptions.

Season 2021-22: Jimmy Lake was fired, and DeBoer was the new head coach after two years at Fresno State. DeBoer developed Jake Haener as a professional prospect while at it, and could do the same in what could be the Pac-12’s most exciting contest yet. The defense has an additional Penix from Indiana. Penix has struggled with injuries for the past two seasons but is an active player when healthy.

What to look for in spring: Morris won the job starting last year, and Huard is a legacy player and fan favorite. Penix, however, is the most experienced of the three and can help DeBoer make that transition in Year 1.

Washington State (7-6, 6-3)

Summary for 2021: Jayden de Laura took on the starting work for the Cougars. He beat Jarrett’s Tennessee transfer guarantee for the starting job and passed 2,802 yards, 23 TDs and nine interceptions in a year when Nick Rolovich was fired in the off-season.

Season 2021-22: Dickert took over as head coach, and de Laura moved to Arizona. Ward, who won the Jerry Rice Award as a freshman in 2020 and raced 4,647 yards and 47 TDs last season, transferred from Incarnate Word. Three-star defender John Mateer also participated in this year’s recruitment.

What to look for in spring: Ward brings a highly engaging element to the new offensive behavior and it will be interesting to see how that plays out with Dickert and offensive coordinator Eric Morris, who served as head coach at Incarnate Word from 2018 to 2021.

THAN: Prospective NFL draft for 2022

Pac-12 Male

Arizona Wild Cat (1-11, 1-8)

Summary for 2021: The Wildcats struggled in Jedd Fisch’s first season, and it didn’t do well in midfield. Will Plummer, Gunner Cruz and Jordan McCloud combine for 10 TDs and 17 interceptions.

Season 2021-22: Jayden de Laura of Washington State, who crossed 3,684 yards, 28 TDs and 13 interceptions over two seasons, was transferred to Arizona. Three-star Noah Fafunctiona awards the Wildcats five quarterbacks with scholarships to be on the roster for the spring game.

What to look for in spring: Fisch and offensive coordinator Brennan Carroll will promise an open competition, but it’s a contest they want de Laura, who led the conference in overtaking the TDs, to win early.

State of Arizona (8-5, 6-3)


Summary for 2021: Jayden Daniels completed his third year as a starter in Herm Edwards’ fourth year as a coach. Daniels struggled with 2,381 yards of passes, 10 TDs and 10 interceptions. He had 710 yards of dash and six career-high TDs.

Season 2021-22: Daniels announced his return for senior year, which gives him another chance to get back in shape as a freshman. Sun Devils Offensive Coordinator Zak Hill Resigned amid the NCAA’s investigation into recruitment violations and was replaced by Glenn Thomas, who had the same job at UNLV. Thomas was the quarterback coach for the Atlanta Falcons from 2012 to 2014 and will lay out professional style guidelines for that offense. Paul Tyson of Alabama also moved to Arizona State.

What to look for in spring: Daniels will be the starter, but Tyson will get a much-needed boost in the spring. With the NCAA investigation and warm conference record last year, it was an important year for Edwards.

Colorado Buffalo (4-8, 3-6)

Summary for 2021: Brendon Lewis started 12 games for the Buffaloes. He finished with 1,540 yards, 10 TDs and three interceptions. Colorado averaged 18.8 points per game in Karl Dorrell’s second season.

Season 2021-22: The Buffaloes have a new offensive coordinator at Mike Sanford Jr. He’s from Minnesota, where he’s been in the same position for the past two seasons. Lewis returns as a sophomore in red. The room adds Maddox Kopp moving to Houston and freshman Owen McCown, a left-hander who is the son of NFL cruiser quarterback Josh McCown.

What to look for in spring: Lewis needs to foul Sanford. Lewis will be central to the Buffaloes in Week 1.

UCLA Bruins (8-4, 6-3)

Summary for 2021: Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed his fourth year as a starting quarterback. He finished with 2,409 yards of passing, 611 yards of dash and a total of 30 TDs. Washington transfer Ethan Garbers played in five games with backup duties.

Season 2021-22: Thompson-Robinson will return as Super Senior full-back for Chip Kelly, who is also in his fifth year. That tandem has produced 18-25 records over the past four years, including a 16-18 record in the conference game. The Bruins will have a new offensive coordinator in 2022 after Justin Frye leaves for Ohio State. Kajiya Holawayne switched to Grambling.

What to look for in spring: Now, or never, is the time for Thompson-Robinson, and another year is a good thing. 4-star freshman Justyn Martin, a local star from Inglewood High School, will have a year to develop in the starter role.

USC (4-8, 3-6)

Summary for 2021: Clay Helton was fired after two games. Kedon Slovis played in nine games and finished with 2,153 yards, 11 TDs, and eight interceptions. Jaxson Dart finished with 1,353 yards, nine TDs and five interceptions.

Season 2021-22: The Trojans hired an extra player with Riley, and that cleared the quarterback room. Slovis passed to Pitt and Dart passed to Ole Miss. USC has Williams, who took the job starting at Oklahoma mid-season and bringing an NFL skill set to Trojan offense. USC also has a commitment from five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson for the class of 2023. It didn’t take long for Riley to make an impact.

What to look for in spring: How does Williams adapt to new surroundings where the pressure will be more intense? Williams will be one of Heisman’s favorite contenders at the start of the season.

Utah (10-4, 8-1)

Summary for 2021: Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer left the team after three games, which opened the door for sophomore Cameron Rising to take control of the business. Rising crossed 2,493 yards, 20 TDs, and 5 interceptions and took the Utes to the Pac-12 championship. He was injured in the Rose Bowl and was replaced by Bryson Barnes, who led a TD drive in the fourth quarter.

Season 2021-22: Kyle Whittingham returned Rising and Barnes, and Utes added Elite 11 quarterback Nate Johnson to the room.

What to look for in spring: Rising gives the Utes the continuity they didn’t have at the start of last season. He will build on a strong Rose Bowl performance.

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