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Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (30-21)

It's a talented group loaded with players that more casual fans might start to recognize

Posted on June 15, 2023

  By Jack Follman, SuperWest Sports

We’re keeping our countdown of the Top 50 players in the Pac-12 going into 2023 going with a group loaded with players whom more casual fans might start to recognize.

Some quarterbacks, for example—including one current and one former Cougar.

We also start to crack into the elite running backs in the Conference and safeties, both of which are strong groups.

Let’s jump into numbers 21-30…

30. Mason Cobb, Senior, Linebacker, USC
Trojan LB Mason Cobb | Erik McKinney/WeAreSC
The Oklahoma State transfer was strong as a Cowboy and looks to bolster the USC defense. He could get over 100 tackles in L.A.

29. Benjamin Yurosek, Senior, Tight End, Stanford
Stanford TE Benjamin Yurosek | Stanford Athletics
I was surprised Yurosek didn’t land at another school with a nice NIL deal after David Shaw left. He’s staying at Stanford where he’ll be a major weapon at tight end for Troy Taylor.

28. Brennan Jackson, Senior, Defensive End, Washington State
Cougar DE Brennan Jackson | Whitney Thornton/CougFancom
Jackson has had nearly 100 tackles and brought in 11 sacks the past two seasons. One of the toughest and most-balanced edge defenders you’ll find in college football.

27. Jayden de Laura, Junior, Quarterback, Arizona
Arizona QB Jayden de Laura | Godofredo A. Vasquez/AP
There’s no denying JDL is a playmaker at QB in the Pac-12. He’s thrown for nearly 50 touchdowns over the past two seasons and is a threat with his legs.

26. Cam Ward, Junior, Quarterback, Washington State
WSU quarterback Cameron Ward | Young Kwak/Associated Press
Ward was really good in his first season of FBS football and he should be even better as a junior. He scored nearly 30 touchdowns and led the Cougars to a bowl game.

25. Junior Tafuna, Junior, Defensive Tackle, Utah
Utah’s Junior Tafuna | Joel Davidson, UteZone, 247Sports
One of the stoutest defenders you’ll find in the conference. Tafuna is a power against the run and can get after the passer a bit, with 5.5 sacks in his career.

24. Cole Bishop, Junior, Safety, Utah
Utah S Cole Bishop | Rick Scuteri/AP
A big-time player in the back of Utah’s defense who has been great now in the Pac-12 for two seasons. Bishop already has more than 130 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and an interception.

23. Calen Bullock, Junior, Safety, USC
USC safety Calen Bullock | USC Athletics
Bullock exploded as one of the best safeties in the nation in 2022. Nearly 50 tackles and five interceptions last year. I might be underrating him due to USC’s defensive struggles down the stretch.

22. Jonah Monheim, Junior, Tackle, USC
Trojan OL Jonah Monheim | USC Athletics
Monheim emerged as the next really good offensive lineman for the Trojans in 2022. He still has room to grow and could be an All-American/first round pick type player.

21. Jaydn Ott, Sophomore, Running Back, Cal
Cal RB Jaydn Ott | Amanda Loman/AP
Ott is a coin to be the best running back in the Pac-12 and was one of the best freshmen in the nation last year.

He had nearly 900 yards rushing, eight touchdowns, and was incredible catching the ball out of the backfield with more than 40 receptions, 300 yards, and three TDs.

—More from Jack Follman—