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Pac-12 2014 unit rankings: Arizona brings best receivers/tight ends to the table

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It is a very weak year for receivers and tight ends in the Pac-12 in 2014.

Stephen Dunn
  1. Arizona (WR Austin Hill, WR Nate Phillips, WR Samajie Grant, WR Garic Wharton, WR Trey Griffey, WR David Richards, WR Johnny Jackson, WR Cameron Denson, WR Cayleb Jones, WR Davonte Neal)
If Hill can return from his knee injury and still be the same player he was before, he could be the best receiver in the conference and he will be surrounded by an excellent army of athletic young receivers who all flashed their potential in 2013, especially the explosive Phillips. What puts the Wildcats over the top in the conference, is the addition of Texas transfer Jones and Notre Dame transfer Neal who were both elite recruits.

2. Stanford (WR Ty Montgomery, WR Devon Cajuste, WR Michael Rector, WR Kodi Whitfield, WR Jordan Pratt, TE Eric Cotton, TE Austin Hooper)

Like most of their units, the Stanford receiving group is big and strong, but this one can also run right past you with speed. Montgomery might be the best receiver in the conference, Cajuste is a massive red zone weapon and Rector is a sneaky big play receiver with good size. Their tight ends are still a bit of a work in progress, but they should be able to block well.

  1. Washington State (WR Gabe Marks, WR Dom Williams, WR Vince Mayle, WR River Cracraft, WR Isiah Myers, WR Rickey Galvin, WR Kristoff Willliams, WR Bobby Ratliff, WR Brett Bartalone)

Definitely the deepest receiving unit in the conference, there are nearly 10 Cougar receivers who have shown the ability to make plays in Mike Leach's offense and Marks and Williams headline as the stars. Marks and Williams are the stars, but also don't sleep on Mayle who is a huge target in the red zone and Cracraft who looked like their best receiver at times as a freshman in 2013.

  1. Oregon State (WR Richard Mullaney, WR Malik Gilmore, WR Victor Bolden, TE Connor Hamlett, TE Caleb Smith, TE Kellen Clute)

The Beavers lose the irreplaceable Brandin Cooks, but have a dynamic trio tight ends who make up half of the top six tight ends in the conference, including the top two in Hamlett and Smith who are huge and major players in the pass game. The Beavers aren't overlay strong at receiver with the major bulk of their receptions leaving with Cooks, but Mullaney actually had more than 50 catches and nearly 800 yards in 2013 and is a big target at 6'3 195. He will need to get more out of one of the sophomore in Gilmore and Bolden though if he hopes to get past the 1,000-yard mark.

  1. Arizona State (WR Jaelen Strong, WR Richard Smith, WR Cameron Smith, WR Tyler Whiley, WR Eric Lauderdale, TE De'Marieya Nelson)

This is a bit of a star power ranking boost for the Sun Devils as simply having the conference's best receiver in Strong gives them a lot of points, but they don't have much else. Outside of Strong the Sun Devils have an explosive player in Richard Smith who needs to step up along with one of the top incoming high school receiver recruits out West in Whiley, one of the leading JC prospects in Lauderdale, who is a big, athletic target like Strong and Nelson who is a versatile athlete that could become one of the best tight ends in the conference if he adjusts quickly to playing the position full-time.

  1. Cal (WR Chris Harper, WR Bryce Treggs, WR Kenny Lawler, WR Darius Powe, WR James Grisom, WR Maurice Harris, WR Trevor Davis)

Harper and Treggs are similar receivers that are prolific in catching passes (combining for nearly 150 reception and more than 1,600 yards in 2013) and they are excellent consistent pass-catchers, who can also make big plays when needed. Lawler is another explosive target that started to come on in 2013, and overall, the Bears are a lot like the Cougars in that they have a ton of very good, but probably not great receivers and do exactly what they need to do in their pass-crazy offense.

  1. Washington (WR Kasen Williams, WR Jaydon Mickens, WR John Ross, WR Marvin Hall, WR DiAndre Campbell, TE Joshua Perkins, TE Michael Hartvigson)

The Huskies dropped after losing burgeoning star Demore'ea Stringfellow to off-the-field trouble and still have major question marks about their best receiver Williams bouncing back from a major injury suffered in 2013. If they can get Williams back at 100 percent, he can easily be a first-team All-Pac-12 player and Mickens and Ross are two of the fastest receivers in the conference who are major deep threats.

  1. UCLA (WR Devin Fuller, WR Jordan Payton, WR Devin Lucien, WR Austin Roberts, WR Eldridge Massington, WR Alex Van Dyke, WR Thomas Duarte)

The Bruins have a glut of former heralded recruits that have had their moments early in their career, but have yet to break out as potential stars. Duarte, Fuller, Lucien and Payton are all talented receivers who could become stars and redshirt freshman Massington along with true freshmen Roberts and Van Dyke could as well.

  1. USC (WR Nelson Agholor, WR George Famer, WR Darreus Rogers, TE Randall Telfer, WR Steven Mitchell, WR Juju Smith)

Agholar is a player on the verge of breaking out and becoming the best receiver in the conference and a first round draft pick, but there is little to nothing proven after that for the Trojan receiving group. Rogers was a former highly-touted recruit who will need to produce more with his great size, Farmer is another former elite recruit who is coming off injury and don't be surprised if one of the incoming freshmen in Mitchell and Smith become instant stars.

  1. Utah (WR Dres Anderson, WR Kenneth Scott, WR Geoffrey Norwood, WR Dominique Hatfield, WR Delshawn McClellon, TE Westlee Tonga, TE Siale Fakailoatonga)
  2. Another group led by a major (though underrated) star in Anderson who quietly had more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. Scott is another underrated talent who missed all of 2013, but had a good season in 2012. It is all about Anderson and Scott right now as players like Norwood and Hatfield have barely made their mark yet in college.

  1. Colorado (WR Nelson Spruce, WR D.D. Goodson, WR Bryce Bobo WR Tyler McCulloch, TE Kyle Slavin, TE Sean Irwin)

The Buffs have a giant hole to fill with Paul Richardson off the NFL, but they have a little bit of a better receiving unit than some might think. Spruce is one of the conference's most underappreciated receivers in the conference (650 yards and four touchdowns in 2013) and Goodson is a small, explosive player who can bust out big plays.

  1. Oregon (WR Keanon Lowe, WR Chance Allen, WR Devon Allen, WR Jalen Brown, TE Johnny Mundt, TE Pharaoh Brown, TE Evan Baylis, WR Dwayne Stanford, WR Darren Carrington)

The Ducks were going to maybe be in the top half of the conference's rankings here before they lost breakout star Bralon Addison to a knee injury and now must rely on a number of completely unproven receivers, a solid, but not outstanding player in Lowe and some solid tight ends. This is a bad place for the Ducks, but don't be surprised if one of their freshmen like Devon Allen or Brown breaks out into a star after looking good in spring football.