1. Scooby Wright – Arizona LB: This junior Linebacker did nothing but lead the nation in tackles, tackles for loss and fumbles forced. He also finished third in the country in sacks. He won nearly every award possible and even finished 9th in the Heisman Trophy voting.
2. Adoree Jackson – USC CB: Personally, I think Adoree Jackson is going to be one of the game’s great ones. Jackson is a talented athlete with the ability to play on both sides of the ball and return kicks and punts. I’m not sure the Trojan coaching staff will let him play both ways, but a tandem of Jackson and JuJu Smith is about unstoppable. Jackson is a sure fire franchise player with excellent
closing speed in pass coverage. Whether coach Sarkisian plans on using Jackson on offense, or defense, or both, he’s one of the best potentially wherever he winds up.
3. Cody Kessler – USC QB: Kessler is not prototype NFL size, but he is one of the top Quarterbacks in the country and he’s come a long way since he first gained the starting job. Kessler threw for over 3,800 yards with 38 Touchdowns against only 5 Interceptions. He did lose his top Receiver with the early declaring Nelson Agholer moving on to the NFL, but USC has plenty of talent returning including Juju Smith. Kessler is also a team leader and the Trojans are expected to compete for national honors again in 2015.
4. Juju Smith – USC: Smith was an immediate star as a true freshman last season, but Nelson Agholer was the big star for the Trojans at Wide Receiver. Expect the main man to become Juju Smith who had a really nice true freshman season showing enormous potential to become the next big thing for USC. He caught 54 passes in 2014 for 724 yards and 5 Touchdowns. He was a 5 star with reported 4.6 speed in the 40 yard dash coming out of high school, which looked to be pretty inaccurate from his play last season.
5. DJ Foster – Arizona State: The Sun Devils have some talent coming up at Running Back next season. So much so that they have moved 1,000 yard rusher, DJ Foster to Wide Receiver. Part of that may have also been that Foster caught 62 passes from Running Back last season and showed great
hands and talent. Also, the Sun Devils lost top receiver Jaelen Strong from last year’s team and they needed some more talent at Wide Receiver. I expect this to be a good move for DJ Foster.
6. Ishmael Adams – UCLA: Adams has been one of the more impressive Cornerbacks over the last 2 seasons. This guy is super explosive as a Defensive Back as well as a return man. He only picked off 2 passes in 2014, but returned both for scores. He had one kickoff return for a Touchdown. He had several big returns called back by penalties. Against, Arizona State, he was a true difference maker with a 95 yard interception return for a Touchdown and a Kickoff return for another. Adams is on the smaller side at 5-8, 190, but one of the top players in the Pac 12 and also in the country.
7. Blake Martinez – Stanford: Very solid Linebacker that watched older Stanford Linebackers like Shane Skov and modeled his game and his work ethic after them. His work ethic paid off and he was Stanford’s leading tackler last season. Martinez is one of the few returners on the Cardinal defense and he will need to have a huge year to help maintain the level of the recent defenses they have fielded.
8. Paul Perkins – UCLA: I blogged about Paul Perkins and Ishmael Adams after the 2013 season here: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/uclas-number-24s/ What impressed about Perkins initially was his blocking, his blitz pick up and recognition. As far as a ball carrier, Perkins really broke out in
2014 running for 1,575 yards and 9 Touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes last season for 201 yards and 2 more Touchdowns. UCLA signed one of the nation’s top Running Backs, but Perkins should be able to keep him off the field.
9. Nick Bercovici – Arizona State: Like Cody Kessler, Bercovici is not the prototype NFL Quarterback size wise. But, Bercovici has a really strong arm and throws a beautiful deep ball. He threw for 1,445 yards in 2014 and about a 1,000 of those yards came in the middle of the season against UCLA and USC while starting Quarterback Taylor Kelly was injured. He threw for 488 yards against the Bruins and 510 yards against the Trojans. Bercovici moves into the starting role this season and should put up spectacular yardage in 2015.
10. Joshua Garnett – Stanford: Garnett was one of the higher rated recruits in his class and came in with Andrus Peat and Kyle Murphy. Garnett is a beast and played next to Peat last season at Left Guard. This season, Kyle Murphy moved from Right Tackle over to the Left side to take Peat’s place. Garnett should be one of the top Guards in the country.
11. Myles Jack – UCLA: Behind Butkus award winner, Eric Kendricks, Jack was the Bruins next leading tackler. As a freshman, Jack played both ways, but they slowed him down on that last season. He still ran for over 100 yards and scored 3 rushing Touchdowns. He is not only a top Linebacker, but
also a top power back if needed. Jack could be higher on this list.
12. Jared Goff – California: Goff is another that could be much higher on this list. Goff is still really thin and needs to fill out some more, but when he does he will be that prototype Quarterback NFL teams are looking for. In two seasons, Goff has thrown for 7,461 yards. During his freshman season, Goff threw 18 Touchdowns with 10 Interceptions. This past season, he improved to 35 Touchdowns against only 7 Interceptions. Goff and the Cal Golden Bears should show tremendous improvement yet again in head coach Sonny Dykes 3rd season. Personally, I think Goff should stay 4 years and mature physically and he could be a top NFL Draft pick.
13. Kenny Clark – UCLA: Clark is a force in the middle and he finished with 57 tackles a year ago. He’s not a great pass rusher, but is solid against the run. At 6-3, 310, Clark could be popular with NFL scouts if he comes out after this season. Bruin head coach Jim Mora brought in former Penn State Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and that alone should get more production out of his defense.
14. Royce Freeman – Oregon: The freshman Running Back for the Ducks exploded onto the scene in 2014 and ran for an impressive 1,365 yards and 18 Touchdowns. Freeman is a 6-0, 230 power back with good speed and he should be more important to his team with the loss off Marcus Mariota. Freeman is also a good receiver out of the backfield.
15. DeForest Buckner – Oregon: Oregon’s other Defensive End Arik Armstead was a first round
pick last season and DeForest Buckner out played him most of the season. Buckner is 6-7, 290 and athletic for his size. Buckner had 81 total tackles with 13 for loss and 4 Quarterback sacks. Surprisingly, he returned for his senior season.
15A. Devontae Booker – Utah: Booker is a 5-11, 205 senior from Sacramento, California that ran for 1,512 yards and 12 Touchdowns in his one and only season at Utah. He made first team All Pac 12 during his first season in Division 1 football. Booker transferred to Utah from American River College.
Kevin Hogan – Stanford QB
Kyle Murphy – Stanford OT
Anu Solomon – Arizona QB
Cayleb Jones – Arizona WR
Nelson Spruce – Colorado WR
Devon Allen – Oregon WR
Charles Nelson – Oregon
Jordan Payton – UCLA
Nick Wilson – Arizona RB
Jordan Simone – Arizona State S
Antonio Longino – Arizona State LB
Salamo Fiso – Arizona State LB
Laiu Moeakiola – Arizona State LB
Reggie Daniels – Oregon DB
Victor Bolden – Oregon State WR
Caleb Benonech – UCLA OT
Jake Brendel – UCLA C
Max Tuerk – USC C
Viane Talamaivao – USC OG
Budda Baker – Washington S
Jared Norris – Utah LB
Jaydon Mickens – Washington WR
Sidney Jones – Washington CB
River Cracraft – Washington State WR
Austin Hooper – Stanford TE
Peter Kalambayi – Stanford LB