Pac-12 returning receiver corps: Arizona, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, WSU best of the bunch

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Let the ball hit the air!

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the Pac-12 probably has the deepest wide receiving corps in the country in 2014. Several Pac-12 teams are losing top-flight wide receivers, but they will be retaining a great deal of their depth regardless. Lots of teams should be passing the ball next season and probably should trust it a bit more considering how weak some of the running back rotations look this upcoming year.

Proven


Arizona: The Wildcats are getting most of their top wideouts from last season back, but they also return Austin Hill (who sat out 2013 with injury) and two big transfers in DaVonte Neal and Cayleb Jones. You could see the Wildcats passing the ball a lot more next year with Ka’Deem Carey gone and most of their big receivers returning, including Nate Phillips and Samajie Grant.

Cal: The Bears lost almost no one of significance this offseason and should have one of the deeper rotations in the conference; Bryce Treggs, Darius Powe, Chris Harper, Kenny Lawler all figure to be good to go, and California’s receivers were the only positive spot of last year’s disastrous campaign.

Stanford: The Cardinal might have to go to the air a lot more next season with the running back rotation. Thankfully, Kevin Hogan will have Ty Montgomery, Devon Cajuste, and Michael Rector as reliable options outside. Montgomery will likely be a contender for top receiving honors in the conference.

UCLA: The Bruins are also running deep on their receiving corps. Devin Fuller, Jordan Payton, and Devin Lucien should provide Brett Hundley with plenty of weapons this year.

Washington State: The Gabe Marks situation remains one to monitor, but if he’s cleared, Mike Leach will have his Air Raid ready to fire on Opening Day. Everyone of his top receivers will be back, including Kristoff Williams, River Cracraft, and Dom Williams.

At least one star


USC:
Nelson Agholor is ready to step into the number one role for the Trojans, with Darreus Rogers likely the next option up. But don’t expect the Trojans to be a pass-first team next season, particularly with the stable of running backs the Trojans plan to line up. There’s also very little depth behind the starting two.

Arizona State:
Jaelen Strong will be the number one target next season for Taylor Kelly, but Richard Smith’s transfer leaves the Devils a bit short on depth here. The second position is wide open.

Utah: The Utes actually could have a top tier lineup this season. Dres Anderson is always underrated and he will get plenty of additional depth from transfers and new arrivals. Kenneth Scott also figures to be a reliable #2 option. Now can Travis Wilson get them the football?

Washington: With Damore’ea Stringfellow suspended indefinitely, Jaydon Mickens and Jordan Ross figure to lead the way with Kasen Williams hopefully returning to full health by the time the season starts.

Area of concern

Oregon: With Josh Huff already gone, Oregon is in trouble here with Bralon Addison likely out for the season. Keanon Lowe is the best option as a top-flight receiver, but the Ducks might have to rely more heavily on the ground game to get back to the top of the Pac-12.

Oregon State:
Sean Mannion is really going to prove his worth this season with no Brandin Cooks to throw to this year. Richard Mullaney is the only real receiver returning. There will be a need for the Beavers to find their tight ends next season, as they provide the kernel of experience the Beavers need.

Colorado: The Buffs are going to have to figure out how they move the football without Paul Richardson. Nelson Spruce, D.D. Goodson and Tyler McCulloch will lead the charge, but this passing game has a lot of improving to do.

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