Several Pac-12 schools face quarterback competition
“We’re not going to release a depth chart after spring, but like I’ve been telling you all the time, we have one, two and three and you’re not in training anymore,” said the Arizona coach Jedd Fisch. mentioned. “There are so many position groups, you start naming a starter in the spring, and then it’s like, well, who’s going to be the starting fullback or who’s going to be the starting receiver?”
Arizona isn’t the only Pac-12 school facing a decision at quarterback. More than half of conference teams have quarterback competitions ahead of the 2022 season.
Southern California is set after Heisman Trophy favorite Caleb Williams decided to follow coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma. UCLA has Dorian Thompson-Robinson back, Utah gets Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Cameron Rising and Stanford’s Tanner McKee will start for the second straight year.
Washington State earned one of the best quarterback transfers of the offseason, landing Cameron Ward. He was a second-team FCS All-American after throwing for 4,648 yards with 47 touchdowns as a sophomore at Incarnate Word.
Everyone has a contest in one form or another.
In Colorado, Brendon Lewis is returning, but will be pushed by JT Shrout after an uneven 2021 season. Shrout, a transfer from Tennessee, pushed Lewis for the starting job in training camp last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury in fall camp.
Dylan Morris was Washington’s starter the past two seasons, but he’s in a battle with Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr. and top rookie Sam Huard. Penix was a three-year starter at Indiana, but struggled with injuries. Morris has had an up and down 2021 season, throwing for 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Oregon State also has its starter from a year ago. Chance Nolan threw for over 2,600 yards last season and led the Beavers to their first Pac-12 winning season in nine years, but he will be pushed by Tristan Gebbia. Gebbia is a former starter who has battled shoulder and hamstring injuries.
“I think we have some quality quarterbacks,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said. “Everybody, if they take a step in their game, yeah, we think we can be good.”
Oregon has two players in the running to replace Anthony Brown: Bo Nix and Ty Thompson.
Nix was the first true freshman to start the season opener at Auburn since 1946 and a three-year starter before opting to transfer to Oregon. A former five-star dual-threat rookie, Thompson had limited three-game action as a rookie last season.
Arizona State had one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12 before Jayden Daniels decided to trade. Now the Sun Devils have open competition, with Paul Tyson and Trenton Bourguet leading the way.
Tyson, the great-grandson of former Alabama coach Bear Bryant, was Bryce Young’s backup last season and Bourguet has played behind Daniels in 2021.
California has big shoes to fill with the departure of Chase Garbers, but picked up former Purdue starter Jack Plummer in the transfer portal. He may have the advantage over Kai Millner, who didn’t play as a freshman at Cal last season.
Arizona also has a Power Five transfer to build on.
Laura’s Jayden was the 2021 Pac-12 offensive freshman after throwing for nearly 2,800 yards and 23 touchdowns at Washington State. He will have to adjust to a new offense in Tucson after playing run-and-shoot at Washington State and is being pushed by Jordan McCloud and freshman Noah Fifita.
McCloud, a transfer from USF, started two games last season before suffering leg injuries in October. Although undersized at 5-foot-9, Fifita was impressive at spring ball and could be Arizona’s long-term future at quarterback.
“Our team has a really good idea of how, where we’re going with this,” Fisch said. “I think Jayden has certainly proven that he can lead our team. We’ll leave it at that.
No need for the Wildcats or any other Pac-12 team to rush – yet.
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