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Pac-12 2018 preseason backfield rankings: Washington and Stanford loaded at QB/RB

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Ranking the Pac-12’s backfields heading into 2018.

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Stanford vs Texas Christian Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Washington (QB Jake Browning Sr. RB Myles Gaskin Sr. RB Salvon Ahmed So.)

The Huskies are stacked with the return of Myles Gaskin who I thought was headed to the NFL. Browning and Gaskin are senior leaders assaulting the Pac-12 record books. Ahmed is the scariest of the bunch though as a home run hitter who might be John Ross, if he was a running back - he’s that fast and elusive.

2. Stanford (QB K.J. Costello Jr. RB Bryce Love Sr. RB Cameron Scarlett Sr. RB Trevor Speights Jr.)

The Cardinal have the country’s best running back, and the Pac-12’s best player returning for his senior year and a potential star in the making at QB in Costello. Scarlett and Speights are impressive backs to have in back up roles who have punish size and good speed.

3. Arizona (QB Khalil Tate Jr. RB J.J. Taylor So. RB Nathan Tilford So.)

Tate is a one-man wrecking crew, but don’t overlook Taylor. The small back is a nightmare to tackle and turning into Arizona’s next great back.

4. Utah (QB Tyler Huntley Jr. RB Zack Moss Jr. RB Armand Shyne Jr.)

A sneaky good group. Huntley is a dual-threat pure playmaker, Moss is a top five in the conference back, and Shyne isn’t far behind. Both Moss and Shyne have great size/speed combos.

5. Oregon (QB Justin Herbert Jr. RB Tony Brooks-James Sr. RB Darrian Felix So.)

The Ducks still have a great backfield. Herbert could easily turn into the Pac-12’s best QB this year and Brooks-James is an underrated veteran who can rack up yards.

6. UCLA (QB Devon Modster So. RB Soso Jamabo Sr. RB Bolu Olorunfunmi Sr. RB Brandon Stephens Jr.)

A lot of potential here. Modster is a proven dual-threat and Jamabo, Olorunfunmi and Stephens are all former blue chip recruits with a ton of talent.

7. USC (QB Matt Fink So. RB Stephen Carr So. RB Aca’Cedric Ware Sr. RB Vavae Malepeai So.)

The Trojans aren’t as stacked in their backfield as they usually are as they replace Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones. Carr is scary good though and is probably going to be just below Love and Gaskin as the conference’s best in 2018.

8. Colorado (QB Steven Montez Jr. RB Beau Bisharat Jr. RB Kyle Evans Sr.)

Montez will a year better as a big dual threat playmaker and blue chip recruit Bisharat feels ready for a breakout.

9. Cal (QB Ross Bowers Jr. RB Patrick Laird Sr. RB Derrick Clark So.)

Bowers is a solid second-year starter and Laird is one of the conference’s best back. Look for improvement here this year.

10. Arizona State (QB Manny Wilkins Sr. RB Eno Benjamin So. RB Nick Ralston Jr.)

Wilkins is turning into a star, but there’s not much else left in the ASU backfield with Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard gone.

11. Washington State (QB Trey Tinsley Jr. RB Keith Harrington Sr. RB James Williams Jr.)

The Cougars have to rebuild a lot at quarterback, but they have two very good, experienced running backs coming back in Harrington and Williams.

12. Oregon State (QB Jake Luton Sr. RB Artavis Pierce Jr. RB Calvin Tyler Jr. So.)

Jonathan Smith is starting from scratch at some places on the Beaver roster, but not necessarily in the backfield. Luton has a lot of size and talent and Pierce has shown flashes.