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Top 12 Pac-12 2016 comeback players: watch out for the return of Eddie Vanderdoes

These players are coming back after missing at least most of 2015 and will likely be impact players.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

2015 was a nightmare year for injuries in the Pac-12. The good news is a number of the players who missed out on 2015 will be back in 2016. Here are the 12 who missed at least significant time in 2015 who I think will star in 2016.

12. Cameron Smith Jr. WR Arizona State - The Sun Devils missed the speedy Smith's downfield playmaking abilities in 2015. He had more than 500 yards receiving and caught six scores in 2014.

11. Jeromy Irwin Sr. T Colorado - Irwin could be a major difference maker in 2016 if he recovers from an ACL tear in early 2015. A healthy Irwin at left tackle for the Buffs could be huge for pass protection and in the run game.

10. Toa Lobendahn Jr. C USC - The USC line suffered after they lost the versatile Lobendahn in the Utah game. He  is an All-Pac-12 player in the making who could be a star at center and guard and looks to be ready to go come fall for the Trojans.

9. John Ross Jr. WR Washington - Ross ran a 4.24 40 in spring as is exactly the big play threat Washington was missing in 2015 at receiver. He's back after missing all of 15 and will also play a huge role in the return game, having returned multiple kicks for TDs in his career.

8. Josh Tupou Sr. DT Colorado - It hit the Buffs hard when they lost Tupou last summer when he left school. Getting him back in 2016 is like a late Christmas present though as the 6'3 325 monster looks ready to follow up on the All-Pac-12 season he had in 2014.

7. Addison Gillam Jr. LB Colorado - We sadly haven't gotten to see Gillam truly progress from his incredible 119-tackle true freshman season due to two years of injuries and illness. He could be one of the conference's most consistent tacklers and the best player on Colorado's defense if he can get back on track in 2016 like he is poised to.

6. Zach Hoffpauir Sr. S Stanford - Hoffpauir was a big hitting safety, skilled in run defense who was as key piece of Stanford's stellar 2014 defense and the Cardinal defense took a hit in 2015 when he went to play baseball. He is back though and will be a huge boost for the Cardinal secondary in 2016.

5. Harrison Phillips Jr. DT Stanford - Stanford's defense took another huge hit when they lost Phillips for 2015. He is a 6'4 290, versatile defensive tackle who will really help their defense up front in 2016 if he can stay healthy.

4. Hunter Dimick Sr. DE Utah - Dimick looked ready to follow Nate Orchard as Utah's next star defensive end but struggled with a lot of injuries in 2015. He finished with three sacks and four tackles for loss in limited time in 2015, but he could easily hit double digits again in both of those if healthy in 2016.

3. Pharaoh Brown Sr. TE Oregon - Brown was the conference's best tight end in 2014 before a nightmarish leg injury nearly resulted in amputation. He's back though and could easily be the conference's best at his position again if he comes back close to full strength.

2. Fabian Moreau Sr. CB UCLA - Moreau was a legit all-conference selection in 2014 and went down very early in 2015. He is one of the best cover corners in the conference and will help form a scary good UCLA secondary in 2015.

1. Eddie Vanderdoes Jr. DT UCLA - Most expected the first-round-draft-talented big man to turn into a star in 2015, but he got hurt right away. He's back in 2016 and looks to be ready for a star turn.