During the run up to football season, we here at Building the Dam normally do articles where we rank the top 5 players at each position from the teams the Beavers will face. We did a few earlier this year before, you know, everything. Since we’re about to finally get Beaver sports back in a few weeks, I thought I’d take this project for a new spin.
Since ranking the top 5 at each position would mean ranking almost the entire schedule, instead I’m going to pick the best player at each position from the Beaver’s schedule, and then do a couple honorable mentions. A smaller article for a smaller season. Here’s the offense.
Quarterback: Chase Garbers, California
Garbers is here almost by default. Every other team the Beavers play is going through some sort of transition at the QB position, either bringing in a transfer or bumping someone up the depth chart after the draft or graduation. That’s not to say he’s not great. Garbers lends a steady hand to a rising California team. He threw for 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions last season, and had a big 4 touchdown game against Illinois in Cal’s 35-20 win in last year’s Redbox Bowl.
Honorable Mention: Jake Bentley, Utah
Bentley transferred to Utah from South Carolina, where he had a solid few seasons, with 55 touchdowns and 32 interceptions over 4 seasons, including a 2019 that was shortened by injury. He’s currently in a camp battle with Texas transfer Cam Rising for the starting job.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Shough, Oregon
Shough is the next man up in the Ducks QB pipeline. He was Justin Herbert’s backup as a redshirt freshman last year, and a former four star recruit. He’s also in a camp battle, with freshman Jay Butterfield and grand transfer Anthony Brown, but should be the favorite.
Running Back: CJ Verdell, Oregon
Verdell was one of the top backs in the Pac-12 last season, with 1,220 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. He also had an excellent 4.1 average yards after contact. Verdell is just very hard to tackle, and will make Oregon’s ground game extremely consistent. With the Ducks set to be breaking in a new quarterback in 2020, Oregon is probably going to be focusing very heavily on their running game, and Verdell should put up some big numbers.
Honorable Mention: Max Borghi, Washington State
Borghi is maybe the best dual threat among Pac-12 running backs. He had 11 rushing touchdowns and 5 receiving touchdowns last year.
Honorable Mention: Christopher Brown Jr., Cal
Brown finished just shy of 1000 yards last year, with 914, and could have a breakout year in 2020.
Wide Receivers: Oregon
Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd give the Ducks one of the most experienced set of wideouts in the conference. Johnson is coming off an 836, 8 touchdown season, while Redd added 465 yards and 7 touchdowns. There were some concerns after Redd missed the Rose Bowl for personal reasons, but he’s back with the team and set to go. The Ducks also have some great sophomores in Bryan Addison, Mycah Pittman and Devon Williams. The group is very deep and very talented.
Honorable Mention: Utah
Britain Covey should be a standout target for the Utes, and Jaylen Dixon gives whoever wins the QB battle another solid option.
Honorable Mention: Stanford
Between Simi Fehoko and Conor Wedington, the Cardinal have a promising set of receivers who should put up big numbers if the offense can gel.
Tight End: Brant Kuithe, Utah
Kuithe was an All-Pac 12 Tight End receiver, and will give Utah another great receiving target. He had 6 receiving touchdowns and 3 rushing touchdowns last season. He doesn’t really have the size to be a great blocker, but he gives the Utes another great scoring threat for what could be a very strong offense.
Honorable Mention: Spencer Webb, Oregon
Webb emerged as a great pass catcher in his Freshman season, with 18 catches 206 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Cade Otton, Washington
Otton has been a solid target for the Huskies over the last 2 seasons, with 5 total touchdowns.
Offensive Line: Washington State
The Cougars have a veteran unit, with tackle Abraham Lucas and guard Josh Watson earning Pac-12 Honors last season. The team’s other tackle, Liam Ryan, probably should have joined them but just missed the cut. Center Brian Green and guard Jarrett Kingston round out a very experienced, very deep O-Line, that should give the offensive side of the ball a smooth transition in Nick Rolovich’s first season.
Honorable Mention: California
Cal has two great returning starters, center Michael Saffell and tackle Jake Curhan. They’ll also get a few injured players from last year, for what kind be a very strong line.
Honorable Mention: Oregon
This is almost entirely on the strength of Penei Sewell, who is the best lineman in the conference, and maybe the country. He’s also the Ducks only returning starter, so the O-Line is going to be a bit of a question mark headed into the season.
That’s all from this side of the ball. Check back next week for defense and special teams, and let us know in the comments how you feel.