clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2019 Pac-12 strengths: what is the top unit for each Pac-12 team?

New, comment

Each Pac-12 team has one unit that stands out above others.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona - Backfield - I’ll start with a bit of a cop out since I planned on keeping this to one position unit, but I love the backfield combo of Khalil Tate and JJ Taylor. The QB/RB combo alone will be very hard for defenses to try and defend in 2019 and I’d love to see them run the option quite a bit next season.

Arizona State - Running Back - This is all about the Pac-12’s best running back Eno Benjamin. He’s going to carry the Sun Devils offense to a lot of yardage and consistency in 2019. I see Herm Edwards riding him like an NFL franchise RB.

Cal - Defensive Backs - The Bears are absolutely stacked at cornerback and safety with proven talent and experience. They will have one of the nation’s best secondaries and could have all four starters drafted in 2020.

Colorado - Wide Receiver - Laviska Shenault Jr. alone makes this a strength for Colorado. He’s going to be impossible to account for. Throw in an excellent number two with KD Nixon and you have a unit that’s going to be very tough to stop in 2019.

Oregon - Offensive Line - Tough call here between QB but I’ll go with offensive line since it’s impressive that the Ducks have five very strong players there and they’ll set the tone for the entire offense. One of the most-experienced lines, if not the most-experienced, in the entire nation.

Oregon State - Running Back - I don’t need to educate everyone on sophomore stud Jermar Jefferson. He could be the best running back in the Pac-12 already. They also have a great number two in Artavis Pierce, who has ran for more than 1,200 yards in his career and scored 10 touchdowns.

Stanford - Offensive Tackle - A healthy Walker Little and Devery Hamilton could give Stanford a scary good tackle combo. You’ll have a hard time finding two bigger, better, more athletic offensive tackles in the nation and they’ll likely own the edge for the Cardinal this season.

UCLA - Running Back - Joshua Allen comes back as a legit superstar who ran for more than 1,200 yards and 12 TDs in 2018 and he’s joined by a couple of freshmen backs who I could see blossoming as second options in Chip Kelly’s system. 5’8 175 Kazmeir Allen is a home run back and the 200-pound Martell Irby a bigger back that can grind out yards.

USC - Wide Receiver - Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns, and Amon-Ra St. Brown might be the Pac-12s three best receivers not named Laviska Shenault. They’re all big, all have big-play potential and all three are consistent with room to progress even further. A scary unit for opposing secondaries.

Utah - Cornerback - The Utes probably have the nation’s best cornerback duo with Jaylon Johnson and Julian Blackmon, who are my choices for the conference’s number one and number two defensive players at any position. It will be hard to pass on Utah in 2019.

Washington - Tight End - It’s a very specific position, but Washington is loaded. Finally healthy, junior Hunter Bryant could be the next Evan Engram as a tight end who is basically a massive, top-flight receiver. Sophomore Cade Otton is basically a better version of the last two Washington tight ends who have gone in the better half of the draft, Will Dissly and Drew Sample and junior Jacob Kizer is an outstanding blocker.

Washington State - Wide Receiver - Whoever wins the starting QB job in Pullman will have more receivers to throw to than he might know what to do with. Tay Martin and Eason Winston are the All-Pac-12 leaders and they’re joined by one of the nation’s deepest and most-prolific receiver units.