Grading the QB situations across the Pac-12
The quarterback position is arguably the most interesting to follow in recruiting to see where players choose to sign and how schools recruit the position. Here’s a look at the scholarship QBs across the Pac-12.
The Wildcats have a nice mix of local quarterbacks and then coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have also gone elsewhere for quarterbacks, including to Houston (Texas) St. Pius X for starter Grant Gunnell, who ended up as a high three-star quarterback. All four scholarship QBs are three-stars in Gunnell, Washington (D.C.) St. John’s Kevin Doyle and then in-state prospect Rhett Rodriguez from Tucson Catalina Foothills and 2020 signee Will Plummer from Gilbert.
Farrell’s take: Things have been solid but not great in the recruiting department for Arizona but Gunnell was highly-coveted. They get a B.
The Sun Devils have only two scholarship quarterbacks but former high four-star Jayden Daniels could arguably be the best one in the entire conference. Daniels, from San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon, was ranked No. 57 overall in the 2019 class and was the second-best dual-threat quarterback behind only Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler. Arizona State’s other QB is 2020 three-star signee Daylin McLemore from Northern California.
Farrell’s take: Daniels was a great get for Herm Edwards and alone merits a high grade. The others are all a bit iffy but they still deserve a B-plus.
So many quarterbacks come from the state of California and the Golden Bears have definitely taken advantage over the last few years. Four of the five scholarship QBs at Cal are from the state, including starter Chase Garbers from Newport Beach (Calif.) Corona Del Mar. Three-stars Jaden Casey and Zach Johnson signed in Cal’s 2020 class, Devon Modster is from Southern California and is a transfer from UCLA and the only out-of-state QB is Spencer Brasch from Gilbert (Ariz.) Higley.
Farrell’s take: Not a bad job here as Garbers is solid and I like the upside of the ones to follow him. It’s average so the Bears get a B-minus.
It will be interesting to see how first-year coach Karl Dorrell handles quarterback recruiting during his tenure in Boulder as the Buffaloes right now have three scholarship quarterbacks, none of whom are in-state prospects but all who are regional. Sam Noyer is a three-star from Beaverton, Ore., and he won the starting job over Tyler Lytle, who was a three-star prospect out of Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. In the 2020 recruiting class, Colorado signed three-star Brendon Lewis out of Melissa, Texas.
Farrell’s take: This hasn’t been great as it’s usually three-stars heading to Boulder. The Buffs need to step things up a bit. I give them a C.
Oregon has dominated recruiting in the West region since coach Mario Cristobal got to town and the Ducks’ success at landing quarterbacks is a great example of this. Starter Tyler Shough was a four-star prospect out of Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton and last recruiting cycle they landed four-star standout QB Jay Butterfield out of Northern California. Cale Millen is a 2019 three-star from Washington, Robby Ashford signed last recruiting cycle out of Hoover, Ala., and Boston College transfer Anthony Brown is originally from New Jersey.
Farrell’s take: Cristobal does well in every aspect of recruiting and he has hit a home run this year. The Ducks get a B-plus based on who they have on campus right now, but it will be an A soon.
The Beavers have one of the most interesting quarterback rooms since Chance Nolan first picked Middle Tennessee State before going to Saddleback College and then heading to Corvallis. Former four-star Tristan Gebbia played at Nebraska before transferring to Oregon State and Nick Moore was at Eastern Washington before coming in. Ben Gulbranson was a 2020 signee straight out of Newbury Park, Calif., but he had been committed to Cal earlier in his recruitment. All four QBs are from Southern California.
Farrell’s take: Gebbia is an interesting transfer and the rest are solid but there’s nothing spectacular here. I give Oregon State a C-plus. This position group needs a boost.
Stanford has incredible reach to entice players to such a phenomenal academic institution as well as play high-level Pac-12 football and the Cardinal have reached across the country for their quarterbacks. Former five-star Davis Mills is from Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian and Jack West, a former three-star out of Saraland, Ala., is also from the South. Four-star Tanner McKee from Corona (Calif.) Centennial is now back from his Mormon mission.
Farrell’s take: Stanford always does well recruiting quarterbacks and this group is no exception. David Shaw deserves an A for this work.
The UCLA quarterback room is a mixed bag of players from drastically different locations. Starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a former four-star from Las Vegas and Colson Yankoff is a four-star who started his career at Washington and then transferred to play for the Bruins but has now moved to wide receiver in preseason camp. He would be available in a pinch. In 2019, UCLA went to Texas for three-star Chase Griffin and in 2020, Chip Kelly went to his native New Hampshire for four-star QB Parker McQuarrie.
Farrell’s take: DTR was a very good QB get and Yankoff was also a four-star out of high school but has now moved spots. McQuarrie has a lot of potential as well so this is a solid B-plus for the Bruins.
There are only two scholarship quarterbacks on USC’s roster in former three-star Kedon Slovis out of Arizona, who has clearly outplayed his ranking, and former three-star Matt Fink out of Glendora, Calif. That has led to Clay Helton and his staff to focus heavily on the position this recruiting cycle with commitments already from four-stars Jake Garcia, who’s originally from California and is playing his senior year in Georgia, and Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany's Miller Moss. The Trojans have also offered Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon standout Jaxson Dart as USC might not be opposed to three QBs in this class.
Farrell’s take: Slovis was a three-star and an afterthought with JT Daniels getting so much attention, but he’s turned out great. Helton has two four-stars coming in but the depth right now is weak. This is about a B-minus for USC based on expectations.
Transfers rule in Utah’s quarterback room as Jake Bentley is a former four-star from Opelika, Ala., who played at South Carolina before moving over to Utah and Cameron Rising was a four-star from Newbury Park, Calif., and played at Texas before leaving for the Utes. Two-star Cooper Justice out of Oregon was signed in the 2020 class.
Farrell’s take: Transfers are helpful here but overall QB recruiting hasn't been great and they are in the C range. Utah shouldn’t be taking two-stars.
The Huskies have had - and continue to have - great success landing local stud quarterbacks with four-star Jacob Sirmon from Bothell, Wash., and four-star Dylan Morris from Puyallup Graham-Kapowsin leading the way. Plus, 2020 five-star QB Sam Huard remains committed in this recruiting class. Also on the roster is 2020 four-star Ethan Garbers, who put up massive numbers at Newport Beach (Calif.) Corona Del Mar and Kevin Thomson, who played at UNLV and Sacramento State before doing a graduate year with the Huskies.
Farrell’s take: This has been excellent and as good as any team in the Pac-12 and it just gets better. I give them an A plus and they will eventually break through offensively.
Washington State has not had the luxury of landing elite in-state quarterbacks but the Cougars, from former coach Mike Leach to first-year coach Nick Rolovich, have done a fine job of landing talented QBs in the region. Four-star Jayden De Laura from Hawaii won the starting job even though he is just a true freshman. Also on the roster are former four-star Cammon Cooper from Utah and three-star Gunner Cruz, who played at Gilbert (Ariz.) Casteel.
Farrell’s take: There is some talent on this roster and, for Washington State, this is an excellent group because it’s not easy to recruit to the program. I give the Cougars a B-plus and De Laura could be great.