Ranking Pac-12 Quarterbacks Ahead Of 2020 College Football Season
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Pac-12 will have many new faces at the quarterback position with only five returning starters that will be under center for the 2020 college football season.
Some of the upper-tier teams in the conference had their quarterback depart due to the graduation or the NFL Draft. Utah will be without Tyler Huntley, Washington lost starter Jacob Eason, Jake Luton is no longer at Oregon State and Justin Herbert is in the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers. Other lost starters include Steven Montez from Colorado, K.J. Costello from Stanford, Washington State QB Anthony Gordon and Khalil Tate from Arizona.
Seven Pac-12 teams will have quarterback battles in fall camp but some battles will be closer than others.
Here is the KSL Sports rankings of the Pac-12 quarterbacks with over three months until the start of the season.
12. Tristan Gebbia, Oregon State
Gebbia will be a redshirt junior this season for the Beavers. The 6’2 signal caller transferred to Corvallis after originally committing and enrolling at Nebraska in 2017. He utilized his redshirt with the Cornhuskers before transferring to Oregon State in 2018 and was forced to sit out that season due to NCAA rules. Gebbia was the backup quarterback to Jake Luton in 2019 where he appeared in four games and started in one contest against Oregon. In 2019, Gebbia completed 38 of his 60 pass attempts for 347 yards and two touchdowns. He ran the ball 11 times for 45 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Against Oregon, Gebbia went 26-of-40 passing for 243 yards along with 25 rushing yards. He made his Beavers debut against Oklahoma State and also appeared in the game against Utah where he threw a touchdown pass late in the game when the Utes already had the game in hand.
Oregon State has five other quarterbacks on the roster that will be competing for the starting job. They have redshirt junior Aidan Willard who has appeared in one game for the Beavers in 2018. Redshirt junior Nick Moore has not played in any games since transferring to Oregon State from Eastern Washington in 2018. Redshirt sophomore Chance Nolan is three-star junior college transfer from Saddleback College. Freshman Jackson Chryst utilized his redshirt last season and the Beavers signed three-star pro-style quarterback Ben Gulbranson from Newbury Park, California in the 2020 recruiting class.
11. Sam Noyer, Colorado
Noyer is entering his senior season in Boulder. He played safety last season, seeing action in 11 games. Noyer was going to put his name in the transfer portal but decided to return and move back to quarterback. The Beaverton, Oregon native was a quarterback in 2016 as a freshman while utilizing his redshirt along with the 2017 season. He appeared in four games for CU as a redshirt freshman, completing 13-of-27 passes for 119 yards. As a sophomore in 2018, Noyer played in five games including the game against Utah where he threw for 23 yards. Last season was the first season where he moved to safety.
With the abrupt departure from head coach Mel Tucker, the Buffaloes hired Karl Dorrell as the head coach. This brings a different set of eyes on the quarterback position. But, these players are not the players that Dorrell recruited. That might lead the new head coach to turn to his senior quarterback to introduce to Dorrell-era in Boulder.
Other quarterbacks that will battle Noyer for the starting job is junior Tyler Lytle who has appeared in three games in 2019 as the backup to Steven Montez. Colorado has the option of sophomore Matthew Ryan who joined Colorado from Ottawa U./Redlands. Redshirt freshman Grant Ciccarone was on the scout team last season and is expected to do so this season. Incoming freshman Brendon Lewis is a three-star dual threat quarterback that is a part of the Buffs’ 2020 recruiting class.
10. John Bledsoe/Cammon Cooper, Washington State
Washington State will change their style of offense a little bit with the departure of the air raid coach Mike Leach to Mississippi State, the Cougars will turn to a pass-heavy offense but not to the extent of Leach’s air raid in former Hawai’i coach Nick Rolovich. With Anthony Gordon, Gage Gebrud and Trey Tinsley graduating, the Cougars will be in a unique spot with their quarterbacks. Under Leach, Washington State would utilize graduate transfers for their quarterbacks, using them for one season.
John Bledsoe is the son of former NFL and Washington State great Drew Bledsoe. John will be a redshirt junior in 2020 after missing the 2019 campaign due to injury.
Cammon Cooper played football in high school at Lehi and will be a redshirt sophomore in 2020. He used his redshirt in 2018 as a true freshman. Cooper will be in contention to start for Washington State in 2020.
Neither Bledsoe or Cooper has appeared in a game for Washington State.
Other quarterbacks that will battle for the starting job is redshirt freshman Gunner Cruz who utilized his redshirt last season in his first season on campus. The fourth quarterback on the roster is redshirt freshman Aaron Angelos.
Washington State has one quarterback that they signed in their 2020 recruiting class in three-star pro-style QB Jayden de Laura but has not enrolled yet.
9. Jacob Sirmon, Washington
Sirmon will be a sophomore this season after appearing in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2019. He saw action against Eastern Washington, California and late in games against BYU and Arizona when the game was in hand. The job doesn’t belong to Sirmon but he is the frontrunner after the departure of Jacob Eason to the NFL and Jake Haener transferred to Fresno State right after losing the starting job to Eason last season.
Other quarterbacks in contention includes highly-touted recruit Ethan Garbers who signed with Washington as a four-star prospect that was ranked the fourth best pro-style quarterback in the country. Dylan Morris utilized his redshirt last season after signing with the Huskies as the fourth best pro-style quarterback in the 2019 recruiting class and the top prospect in the entire state of Washington.
8. Tyler Shough/Jay Butterfield, Oregon
Justin Herbert is with the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL after a wildly successful career at Oregon. Now, Mario Cristobal and his staff will turn to a new signal caller and he has plenty of choices to choose from.
Tyler Shough served as Herbert’s backup as a redshirt freshman in 2019. He completed 12 of his 15 pass attempts for 144 yards and three touchdowns in five games for the Ducks. Shough is one inch shorter than Herbert, standing at 6’5.
Oregon signed four-star quarterback Jay Butterfield from Brentwood, California. He was rated the fifth-best pro-style quarterback in the country. The 6’6 signal caller was the No. 16 prospect in the state of California.
Besides Shough and Butterfield battling for the starting job, Oregon has sophomore QB Bradley Yaffe who has not seen any action for the Ducks. They also have redshirt freshman Cale Millien.
Another incoming freshman that signed with Oregon in the 2020 class is four-star dual-threat QB Robby Ashford. He has not enrolled at Oregon yet. The Ducks signed the top recruiting class in the conference and No. 12 in the country.
7. Davis Mills, Stanford
K.J. Costello missed most of the season with an injury last year and he has now transferred to Mississippi State. When Costello was out with the injury, Davis Mills stepped in. In 8 games played in 2019, Mills threw for 1,960 yards, 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. The Cardinal finished with a 4-9 record. Mills is set up to be the starter in 2020 as a senior.
Last season, Stanford was forced at times to turn to third string quarterback Jack West. The incoming junior appeared in two games, throwing for 143 yards. He will be the backup quarterback behind Mills. They also have junior Dylan Plautz on the roster who has played in two games in 2018.
Stanford signed the third-best recruiting class in the Pac-12 and No. 21 in the country but didn’t sign one quarterback in the 2020 class.
6. Grant Gunnell, Arizona
Now that Khalil Tate is gone, the Wildcats turn the quarterback job over to Grant Gunnell who will be a sophomore this season. He played in 8 games last season with 3 starts. Gunnell completed 101 of his 155 pass attempts for 1,239 yards, 9 touchdowns and one interception. The Woodlands, Texas native showed signs last year that he can be a very good quarterback in Tuscon.
Other quarterbacks on the roster include redshirt junior Rhett Rodriguez, redshirt sophomores Kevin Doyle and Luke Ashworth as well as incoming freshman three-start QB Will Plummer.
5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
As a sophomore in 2019, Dorian Thompson-Robinson made great strides in his game despite the up and down year for the Bruins. DTR showed that he can throw the football as well as run it. He finished the 2019 campaign with 2,701 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions along with 4 rushing scores. The one thing that has hurt Thompson-Robinson is his decision-making at times when under pressure. But, he has clearly shown that he is the guy in Westwood.
The Bruins signed four-star pro-style quarterback Parker McQuarrie who is the No. 11 pro-style QB in the country and the top prospect in New Hampshire.
4. Chase Garbers, California
California found out quickly that they need a quarterback like Chase Garbers under center. In 2019, Garbers started in the first five games and Cal went 4-1. After suffering an injury against Arizona State in their first loss, Cal lost three straight including a 35-0 loss at Utah. With Garbers out of the lineup, the Golden Bears went 1-4. Garbers returned for the final two games of the regular season and the bowl game. Cal won all three games.
Garbers finished the season with 1,772 yards, 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
3. Cam Rising/Jake Bentley, Utah
After a wildly successful senior season for Tyler Huntley in 2019, Utah will look forward to a quarterback battle in fall camp.
Jake Bentley joins the Utes after spending four years at South Carolina in the SEC. In 34 games played, Bentley threw for 7,527 yards 55 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. He has a lot of experience playing against some of the top defenses in the country.
Texas transfer Cam Rising is a very athletic quarterback who can run and throw the football. The upper hand that Rising has is that he is young and was observing Andy Ludwig’s offense during the 2019 season while having to sit out due to the NCAA Rules.
Senior Drew Lisk is also in the mix for the starting quarterback job at Utah.
Whoever wins the starting job, Utah will be in good shape this season with a most of their experience returning on offense especially at wide receiver and the offensive line.
2. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
Daniels has had a lot of great moments already in just one season for the Sun Devils. He showed his ability to make great decisions in the pocket as he is making throws after throwing just two interceptions. Daniels completed 205 of his 338 pass attempts for 2,943 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Sun Devils lost top receiver Brandon Aiyuk but are improving on the recruiting trail. Herm Edwards and his staff signed the fourth-best class in the conference and No. 23 in the nation.
If Arizona State can provide elite weapons that surround Daniels, expect his sophomore production to increase.
1. Kedon Slovis, USC
Slovis wasn’t even the starting quarterback to start the 2019 season then J.T. Daniels went down with a season-ending injury in the opener. But, once Slovis started looking comfortable he made the USC signal caller job his to lose. He finished with 3,502 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions as a true freshman which led to him being named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. It doesn’t hurt that USC has always had very talented receivers for quarterbacks to throw to.
That performance from Slovis has caused some issues in the quarterback room as both Jack Sears and Daniels have both entered the transfer portal. Sears has committed to Boise State.