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2016 Pacific Takes preseason All-Pac-12 teams: four teams of Pac-12 stars

These are the best players in the Pac-12 going into 2016.

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

1st Team


QB Luke Falk Jr. Washington State - Falk gets the edge on Rosen for what he has proven. He is going to assault records all season and show that he is far from a system quarterback and just a great QB who happens to play in a prolific system.

RB Christian McCaffrey Jr. Stanford - Mr. Everything has a great chance to make a run at best Pac-12 career of all-time this season. I can't remember a Pac-12 player as complete and as electrifying as McCaffrey.

RB Royce Freeman Jr. Oregon - Freeman's prolific genius gets overshadowed by McCaffrey, but he will probably finish this season as one of the best running backs to ever play in the conference. He will likely test 2,000 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Jr. USC - I'm really excited to see what JJS-S can do this season. He is as talented of a receiver as we maybe have ever seen in the Pac-12 and he turned in a breakout season in 2015 with more than 1,000 yards receiving.

WR Gabe Marks Sr. Washington State - Marks is every bit the receiver JSS-S is and actually might have better stats. He is the most complete and consistent receiver in the country and could be the most prolific in the nation in 2016.

TE Kody Kohl Jr. Arizona State - Very weak year for tight ends, but that doesn't mean Kohl isn't a really good tight end. He had more than 350 yards receiving and caught four touchdowns in 2015.

OL Zach Banner Sr. USC - The 6'9 360 beast put the NFL off for a year and returns as the conference's top offensive lineman. You simply don't see players with the tools he has and he still maybe hasn't maximized his potential.

OL Conor McDermott Sr. UCLA - He is basically a lighter version of Banner who can play left tackle. He shouldn't get overshadowed by Banner.

OL Johnny Caspers Sr. Stanford - The best returning starter from Stanford's stellar 2015 starting offensive line. A nasty interior lineman who carries the physical torch for Cardinal offensive linemen.

OL J.J. Dielman Sr. Utah - Fits in perfectly with the physical fronts of Utah and has the athleticism and versatility to key runs on the edge and protect the passer. An All-Pac-12 selection as a junior.

OL Chad Wheeler Sr. USC - Going to be a four-year starter at USC on the offensive line. Need I say more?


DL Lowell Lotulelei Jr. Utah - The ultimate run stuffer. Really makes it tough to move the ball up the middle on Utah's defense and a first-team All-American candidate.

DL Eddie Vanderdoes Jr. UCLA - This has to be the year for Vanderdoes coming off of missing all of 2015 due to injury. He has all the tools to become an All-American and a first round pick. Now he just needs to do it.

DL Solomon Thomas Jr. Stanford - Versatile but physical, Thomas is the best player up front now for the Cardinal. He can play inside or outside and make plays in the backfield.

DL Elijah Qualls Jr. Washington - Qualls was on pace to be a first-team All-Pac-12 player in 2015 before he got injured. He moves to DE from DT and checks in at 6'2 320 which will be very interesting.

LB Deon Hollins Sr. UCLA - The only linebacker returning in the Pac-12 who was All-Pac-12 in 2015. He's a skilled pass rusher and veteran leader on what should be a very good Bruin defensive unit.

LB Salamo Fiso Sr. Arizona State - No one seemed to notice this guy had 20 tackles for-loss in 2015. No returning player is better at making plays in the backfield.

LB Azeem Victor Jr. Washington - Possibly the conference's hardest hitter is a nasty veteran who racks up tackles and can get into the backfield when he needs to. A rare developing star at inside linebacker.

DB Adoree Jackson Jr. USC - As good of a pure athlete as you will ever find in the Pac-12. He is poised for a huge season and would have more picks if people threw his way more often.

DB Sidney Jones Jr. Washington - A lot of people will tell you Jones is actually the conference's best cover corner. He's long, rangy and has a nose picking off the ball with six in his two-year career.

DB Budda Baker Jr. Washington - A lightning fast patrolman in the defensive backfield with unmatched range. He could be the fastest safety in the nation.

DB Marcus Williams Jr. Utah - Great in run support and also a ballhawk. He picked off five passes in 2015 as the leader of the back of Utah's excellent defense.

Special Teams

K Andy Phillips Sr. Utah - Been one of the best kickers in the conference for years now.

P Matt Haack Sr. Arizona State - Averaged 43 yards per-punt in 2015.

R Christian McCaffrey Jr. Stanford - A nightmare for kick and punt coverage units.

Second  Team


QB Josh Rosen So. UCLA - Rosen was dynamite as a true freshman but it still feels he has a lot of growing to do starting in 2016. He could easily take over Falk's crown by the end of the season if he continues his progression.

RB Myles Gaskin So. Washington - Came out of nowhere to run for more than 1,300 and score 14 touchdowns as a true freshman. He is as physical of a runner as you will see for a 5'9 190ish back and still has a second gear to run away from defensive backs.

RB Ronald Jones So. USC - This guy was scary to watch for Pac-12 teams other than USC because his combination of speed, strength and balance made him look like the next USC Heisman back at times. He ran for just under 1,000 in 2015 and should easily get past that mark in 2016.

WR Darren Carrington Jr. Oregon - A sleeper star in the Pac-12. This guy broke out with huge game in the 2015 Rose Bowl performance but missed half of last season due to suspension. He had 609 yards and six touchdowns in limited time and could easily more than double that as scary big play receiver who averages 19 yards per-catch.

WR Tim White Sr. Arizona State - The pure speedster and special teams stars is also a hell of a receiver. He had more than 55 catches in 2015 for more than 600 yards and eight scores.

TE Harrison Handley Jr. Utah - This guy isn't getting preseason love, but he is the second-most-proven tight end in the conference. He had more than 20 receptions for nearly 300 yards and four scores in 2015.

OL Chris Borrayo Sr. Cal - This guy has quietly been a beat for the Bears the past two seasons and now is one of the conference's best interior lineman. Balanced in run hole creation and pass protection.

OL Isaac Asiata Sr. Utah - Another tough interior offensive lineman with excellent size at 6'3 335. A bulldozer for Utah's run game.

OL Damien Mama Jr. USC - Let's keep the scary offensive guards coming. Mama is 6'4 325 after dropping a lot of pounds and it could upgrade his game which was already pretty spot on.

OL Cole Madison Jr. Washington State - This excellent pass protector could take over for Joe Dahl as the best pass blocker in the conference. He's long and reliable on the edge.

OL Casey Tucker Jr. Stanford - The blue chipper looks ready to take his game to the next level and become the next All-American at tackle for the Cardinal. He has all the physical tools their recent other elite tackles have had and the experience to back it up now.


DL Kylie Fitts Sr. Utah - Utah hit the jackpot with this UCLA transfer. He has the size and strength to dominate in run defense and can still get into the backfield as he had seven sacks in 2015 and also knocked down 10 passes.

DL Hunter Dimick Sr. Utah - Dimick was injured for much of 2015 but was an unquestioned All-Pac-12 talent as a sophomore.  He had three sacks in limited action last season.

DL Daniel Ekuale Jr. Washington State - This guy isn't about stats, more about simply helping turning Washington State into a team with a run defense. He is a huge piece in Washington State's defensive line rotation and should step up with Desiny Vaeao gone.

DL Harrison Phillips Jr. Stanford - Stanford took a huge hit when he missed 2015 with an injury.  He's another versatile and tough defender up front for the Cardinal who can disrupt the backfield.

LB Cameron Smith So. USC - Blew up in the Utah upset with three interceptions, but he is most skilled as a physical tackling machine at inside linebacker. He had nearly 80 tackles as a true freshman.

LB Peter Kalambayi Sr. Stanford - A 6'3 250 linebacker who gets into the backfield for Stanford. Sound familiar? Kalambayi had 52 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season.

LB Peyton Pelleur Jr. Washington State - A tackling machine, he was Mr. Reliable for the Cougars with 101 tackles in 2015, 11 of them in the backfield.

DB Kevin King Sr. Washington - Husky insiders might tell you this guy is actually the best player in their secondary. He has crazy size at 6'3 190 and three picks in 2015 along with 4.5 tackles for-loss.

DB Shalom Luani Sr. Washington State - This former rugby star from New Zealand stepped up huge for the Cougars in 2015 to help reshape their defense. He finished the season with 90 tackles, four interceptions and three tackles for-loss.

DB Randall Goforth Sr. UCLA - This guy has been a steady presence in the Bruin second for years. He had 70 tackles and two picks last year for the Bruins.

DB Jaleel Wadood Jr. UCLA - UCLA's version of Budda Baker is no slouch. He had 72 tackles, four for-loss and two picks in 2015.

Special Teams

K Aidan Schneider Jr. Oregon - Remember when the Ducks didn't really have kickers? That is no longer the case.

P Alex Robinson Jr. Stanford - Averaged 42 yards per-punt in 2015.

R John Ross Jr. Washington - This guy returned multiple kicks for touchdowns in the first two years of his career and has something crazy like four called back for penalties.

3rd Team


QB Jake Browning So. Washington - The conference's other stud true freshman starting quarterback. Browning's stats and progression were on par with Rosen's.

RB Demario Richard Jr. Arizona State - A 220-pound load who ran for more than 1,100 last year for the Sun Devils. He is also a scary receiving threat with 300 yards receiving and three scores.

RB Nick Wilson Jr. Arizona - Looked like the next Ka'Deem Carey as a freshman but was banged up last year.  Still ran for 729 yards and eight scores.

WR River Cracraft Sr. Washington State - Gabe Marks' doppelganger is a complete and reliable receiver who has stuffed stat sheets for years. He had more than 50 receptions, more than 600 yards and four scores in 2015.

WR Jordan Villamin Jr. Oregon State - The lone star on the Beavers, Villamin is a 6'5 230 receiver with speed. He had 660 yards and five touchdown catches in 2015.

TE Pharaoh Brown Sr. Oregon - Hard to peg Brown. He was the conference's best tight end despite missing a couple games in 2014 due to a hellish injury that many thought would end his career. If he comes back at full speed he is the conference's best tight end.

OL Riley Sorenson Sr. Washington State - The man in the center of Washington State's offensive line is their veteran leader and a big reason why they could pass protect and run a little bit in 2015.

OL Toa Lobendahn Jr. USC - Just another blue chip USC offensive line recruit fulfilling his potential. He is the most-versatile of the Trojan offensive linemen as he could play any position.

OL Viane Talamaivao Jr. USC - Again, a ultra-talented, former blue chip recruit who is starring for the Trojan offensive line.

OL Scott Quessenberry Sr. UCLA - He has been excellent in the UCLA line shuffle, but looks to take the next step as a full-time starter. A proven veteran.

OL Coleman Shelton Jr. Washington - One of the most-versatile linemen in the conference,  Shelton has been a stud at guard and tackle but moves to center this year.


DL Pita Taumoepenu Sr. Utah - One of the conference's best pass rushing specialists, he had six sacks in 2015 and should see more in 2016.

DL Tashon Smallwood Jr. Arizona State - A plugger up front for the Sun Devils who makes a lot of tackles for a defensive tackle. He had 43 tackles in 2015, 6.5 of them for-loss.

DL Greg Gaines So. Washington - A relentless defender in the middle, Gaines might be a bigger David Parry and had 28 tackles as a freshman.

DL Hercules Mata'afa So. Washington State - The Cougars' best pass rusher, Mata'afa had seven sacks in 2015 and 4 tackles for-loss.

LB Jayon Brown Sr. UCLA - Brown has been right there with Myles Jack and Deon Hollins the past couple of years and led the Bruins in tackles in 2015 with 93.

LB Kenny Young Jr. UCLA - Young is a great tackler, like Brown, but also can really get into the backfield. He had more than 60 tackles with 4.5 for-loss in 2015.

LB Keishawn Bierria Jr. Washington - A solid pass rusher who broke out in Washington's win over USC and should see more sacks with Washington's pass rushers gone from 2015.

DB Fabian Moreau Sr. UCLA - Moreau was an All-Pac-12 player before missing 2015 due to injury. He's back this year and will be one of the best cornerbacks in the conference.

DB Chidobe Awuzie Sr. Colorado - It has been a long time since the Buffs have had a defensive player this good. Awuzie is a top-level cover corner.

DB Marcus Rios Sr. UCLA - Another part of UCLA's ultra-deep and talented defensive back unit. Rios is right there with Moreau, Goforth and Goodman as a great DB.

DB Zach Hoffpauir Sr. Stanford - Hoffpauir looked like a physical, All-Pac-12 safety going into 2015, but left to go play baseball. He is back though and will be one of the best tackling and hitting safeties in the Pac-12.

Special Teams

K Conrad Ukropina Sr. Stanford - He hit one of the biggest field goals in Pac-12 history and is an overall great kicker.

P Nick Porebski Sr. Oregon State - Averaged 38 yards per-punt in 2015.

R Adoree Jackson Jr. USC - The most-impressive athlete in the conference returned a punt and a kick for TDs in 2015.

Honorable Mention


QB Anu Solomon Jr. Arizona

RB Phillip Lindsay So. Colorado

RB Justin Davis Sr. USC

WR Shay Fields Jr. Colorado

WR Michael Rector Sr. Stanford

TE Pharaoh Brown Sr. Oregon

OL Jacob Alsadek Jr. Arizona

OL Cameron Hunt Sr. Oregon

OL Trey Adams So. Washington

OL Tyrell Crosby Jr. Oregon

OL Steven Moore Sr. Cal


DL Takkarist McKinley Sr. UCLA

DL Eli Ankou Sr. UCLA

DL Josh Tupou Sr. Colorado

DL Derek McCartney Jr. Colorado

LB Christian Sam Jr. Arizona State

LB Michael Barton Sr. Arizona

LB Addison Gillam Jr. Colorado

DB Tedric Thompson Sr. Colorado

DB Kareem Orr So. Arizona State

DB Tyree Robinson Jr. Oregon

DB Quenton Meeks So. Stanford

Special Teams

K Matt Anderson Jr. Cal

P Alex Kinney So. Colorado

R Dante Pettis Jr. Washington