Posted on July 5, 2023
The good news for them is it’s not a strong year for Pac-12 DBs. It’s a fresh crop of talent defending Pac-12 passing offenses and not the deepest group.
There’s still a solid group of returning standouts on the top and depth that’s ready to break out this season.
1. Kitan Oladapo, Senior, Oregon StateOladapo grew into a big-time player last year with 80 tackles, six passes defended (PDs), and 2.5 sacks. He’s the most consistent and reliable DB coming back in the Conference.
2. Calen Bullock, Junior, USCBullock is definitely in the discussion for the best DB in the conference. There’s a good chance he leads the Conference in interceptions this year after grabbing five last year.
3. Cole Bishop, Junior, UtahThe Utes have produced a ton of great safeties over the years. Bishop is next after racking up 80+ tackles last year with 4 sacks and 8 PDs in his career already.
4. Evan Williams, Senior, OregonWilliams was a perennial All-Mountain West selection at Fresno State and should step right in and make an impact at Oregon.
He’s the kind of steady playmaker the Ducks need to improve their secondary.
5. Jabbar Muhammad, Senior, WashingtonWashington snagged the Oklahoma State transfer and All-Big 12 selection to try and bolster their pass defense. He should be one of the best corners in the Conference right away.
6. Jaden Hicks, Sophomore, Washington StateA weekly honor usually in the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week selection, Hicks had 75 tackles, a sack, and an interception in 2022.
7. Asa Turner, Senior, WashingtonOne of the best veterans in the Conference, Turner has six interceptions in his career and more than 100 tackles. He should be the leader of the Husky defense in 2023.
8. Travis Hunter, Sophomore, ColoradoThe former No. 1 recruit in the nation is now in Boulder and ready to turn into a star in the Pac-12. He’s one of the most exciting players coming into the conference in 2023.
9. Chau Smith-Wade, Junior, Washington StateSmith-Wade quietly had a really good 2022. He finished with eight PDs on top of 40-plus tackles and two interceptions.
10. Ryan Cooper Jr., Senior, Oregon StateAn underrated stud on Oregon State’s stellar 2022 secondary, Cooper had three interceptions last year and 45 tackles with a sack.
11. Craig Woodson, Senior, CalWoodson stepped up as part of Cal’s perennially tough secondary last year with more than 70 tackles, three PDs, and two interceptions with one for a touchdown. He takes over as Cal’s best DB.
12. Jeremiah Earby, Sophomore, CalEarby had a fantastic first season at Cal, which seems to grow stud DBs on trees. He had 11 PDs as a freshman and 35 tackles with an interception.
—More from Jack Follman—
- Jack Follman’s 10 Thoughts on 2023 Week 1 in the Pac-12
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 9-13
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 5-8
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 1-4
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (5-1)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 DB Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (10-6)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 LB Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top Pac-12 Linebackers
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (20-11)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 DL Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top Pac-12 D-Linemen
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 OL Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (30-21)
- Jack Follman’s Top Pac-12 Offensive Lineman for 2023
Jack Follman’s 10 Thoughts on 2023 Week 1 in the Pac-12The Conference was at its best with every member team winning—most of them handily - September 5, 2023
Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 9-13Scores for every game with commentary on top contests, plus projected standings and title game - August 17, 2023
Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 5-8Early picks with scores for every game and commentary for top contests & projected standings - August 16, 2023