football Edit

Replacing the stars: Where will Pac-12 teams turn in 2020?

Tyler Shough
Tyler Shough (AP)

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

With spring football underway and the NFL Draft season in full swing, we will take a look at which players leave big shoes to fill and who might step in. We continue today with the Pac-12.

REPLACING THE STARS: ACC | SEC | Big Ten

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

OREGON - QB Justin Herbert

The skinny: After what seems like a 10-year career with the Ducks, Herbert is off to the NFL and the likely starting quarterback will be Tyler Shough. As a redshirt freshman last season, while he only attempted 15 passes, he did complete 12 of them for 144 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Shough will have to adjust to a new offensive coordinator, Joe Moorehead, but the offense should remain quite similar so the transition should be smooth. If Shough should stumble, redshirt freshman Cale Millen and early enrollee Jay Butterfield are both capable candidates who will jump at the opportunity.

Farrell’s take: Shough is a tall signal-caller like Herbert who can extend the play a bit and has a good arm and he was much more polished coming out of high school. He should be a nice fit in the offense and while he won’t be Herbert right away, he will put up numbers.

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ARIZONA STATE - RB Eno Benjamin

The skinny: Benjamin carried the bulk of the workload on the ground during the last three seasons, so this will be an interesting adjustment for the Sun Devils. During his time at Arizona State, coach Herm Edwards has not shied away from playing true freshmen, which may come into play at running back in 2020. Early enrollees Daniyel Ngata and DeaMonte Trayanum arrived with plenty of accolades, and with the position rather bare, they will be given every opportunity to earn immediate playing time. Look for both to play this fall, with the pair possessing talents that should complement the Arizona State offense very nicely.

Farrell’s take: This will be a tag team effort. AJ Carter is the next man up but he has little experience and the incoming freshmen are more talented. Look for Trayanum to be the between the tackles and downhill guy while Ngata can make people miss and can work in the passing game as well. There are many unknowns here but plenty of talent.

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USC - LT Austin Jackson

The skinny: Replacing a left tackle, especially with a young quarterback like Kedon Slovis in charge of the offense, always becomes integral in a team’s success. That’s the situation in Los Angeles, as the Trojans look to replace Jackson.

The most likely candidate is Alijah Vera-Tucker, who is talented enough to play a few positions on the line. But if the coaching staff decides to keep him at tackle, his likely home will be on the left side. There is also a chance that right guard Liam Jimmons moves to the position. Jimmons, who has already made the move from defensive line to offensive line, has proven to be athletic and smart enough to easily adapt to change.

Farrell’s take: The USC roster isn’t loaded with talent like the old days so it’s not just plug and play with a new four or five star. However, Vera-Tucker was highly regarded out of high school and was very athletic and versatile so he will be a good fit to replace Jackson.

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WASHINGTON - QB Jacob Eason

The skinny: Unlike many highly recruited quarterbacks around the country, Jacob Sirmon stuck around and waited his turn in Seattle, even though he did dabble with the transfer portal last spring. Now, after redshirting in 2018 and backing up Eason in 2019, Sirmon is the early leader to receive his opportunity this fall. However, having only attempted three passes last season, there is still a certain feeling of uncertainty.

Dylan Morris redshirted last fall and shouldn’t be discounted, while incoming freshman Ethan Garbers just threw 70 touchdown passes during his senior season in high school. Money must go on Sirmon right now, but he will have to prove himself to truly gain the confidence of the staff and fans.

Farrell’s take: Washington has done a great job recruiting quarterbacks and there is a ton of talent on the roster. Sirmon always had a cannon of an arm and Morris was smooth but the best of the bunch could be Garbers who was a machine in high school. Trust me, Washington will be just fine replacing season.

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UTAH - CB Jaylon Johnson

The skinny: There are plenty of question marks regarding the cornerback position in Salt Lake City this offseason. Johnson will be sorely missed, and there don’t seem to be any definite answers at this time. The surest answer may actually be true freshman Clark Phillips, the No. 67 recruit in the nation in the Class of 2020. His elite speed will make him difficult to keep off the field, and with deficiencies at the position, his time will likely come sooner than later.

The Utes also need players like JaTravis Broughton and Bronson Boyd to step up at cornerback this season for the Utes to contend in the PAC 12 again.

Farrell’s take: Phillips is a highly regarded talent stolen away from Ohio State and theres no way he’s going to sit. Whether he starts or not will be determined but he’s the next Jaylon Johnson for Utah.

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