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Jack Follman’s Top 2023 Pac-12 Football Impact Freshman

With both signing days behind us, we know who the top incoming freshman will be in 2023

Posted on February 10, 2023

  By Jack Follman, SuperWest Sports

Both signing days have come and gone and we know who the top incoming freshman in the Conference will be in 2023.

Oregon cleaned up in the rankings again, USC grabbed a ton of blue-chip talent, and Utah snuck into the Top 25.

Oh, and Colorado became an instant recruiting powerhouse.

It feels like the max exodus of talent from the west, avoiding the Pac-12, is slowing and some schools are having success pulling out of Texas and other non-region states.

I’m not doing a straight-up highest-ranked recruit list. These are incoming true freshmen by how big of an impact I think they will make in 2023.

1. Jaden Rashada, QB, Pittsburgh, CAArizona State

Rashada’s journey to Tempe was one of the wildest you’ll ever see. First-Year head coach Kenny Dillingham has to be ecstatic to now have one of the nation’s top QB recruits coming in.

Former Notre Dame QB, Drew Pyne, is coming in and Trenton Bourquet—who impressed in 2022, when he came in after an injury—is still on the roster.

But it certainly feels like Rashada could get the job at some point if nothing else but for his giant potential.

2. Dante Moore, QB, Detroit, MIUCLA

UCLA Athletics
Another big-time quarterback recruit and I actually think he’s higher-rated than Rashada.

But there’s a chance he doesn’t start this year as UCLA is bringing in talented senior transfer Colin Schlee from Kent State.

Moore looks like he could easily become a star from day one at UCLA, though.

3. Zachariah Branch, WR, Las Vegas, NVUSC

Courtesy Zachariah Branch
One of the top recruits in the nation at any position he could step in right away and become a star for the Trojans and Lincoln Riley’s high-flying offense with Caleb Williams at QB.

Branch has been compared to Tyreek Hill and that’s about all you need to know.

4. Cormani McClain, CB, Lakeland, FLColorado

Courtesy Cormani McClain
The nation’s top cornerback recruit and one of the top recruits at any position is heading to Boulder.

He should be a starter and could even contend for All-Pac-12 honors as a true freshman.

5. Jurrion Dickey, WR, East Palo Alto, CAOregon

Oregon Athletics
One of the top receiver recruits in the nation and up there with recruits at any position, he’s big (6-3, 210) and powerful.

There’s a good chance he could be an excellent option to pair with Troy Franklin right away and give Oregon more punch at WR.

6. Makai Lemon, WR, Los Alamitos, CAUSC

Courtesy Makai Lemon
He could easily be a crown jewel recruit at receiver for the Trojans, but it’s just that Branch is rated so high.

Either way, he has a great chance to make a huge impact as a true freshman for the Trojans.

7. Matayo Uiagalelei, DE, Bellflower, CAOregon

Courtesy Matayo Uiagalelei
DJ’s younger brother is huge and ready to start rushing the passer in the Pac-12 in 2023.

He’s got all the skills to quickly become a starter for the Ducks and one of the best defensive ends in the Pac-12.

8. Dylan Edwards, RB, Derby, KSColorado

Courtesy Dylan Edwards
The Buffs will assuredly lean on the big-time recruits Coach Prime is bringing in, even if they’re just true freshmen.

Edwards is one of the top running backs coming into the Pac-12 this year and I bet he gets at least a healthy amount of carries.

9. Rodrick Pleasant, CB, Gardena, CAOregon

Oregon Athletics
The Ducks battled with USC to grab the Southern California native and he has a shot to start as a true freshman.

He will have a big opportunity at CB with Christian Gonzalez off early to the NFL.

10. Braylan Shelby, DE, Friendswood, TXUSC

USC Athletics
The Texas edge rusher is one of the top recruits USC signed and it’s a position of need with Tuli Tuipulotu heading early to the NFL.

He could make an instant impact, especially on third down.

11. Caleb Presley, CB, Seattle, WAWashington

Courtesy Caleb Presley
The Huskies were a disaster at cornerback last year and they need help.

The top-rated recruit in the state of Washington should help, and he has a shot to start as a true freshman.

12. Tackett Curtis, LB, Many, LAUSC

USC Athletics
Anyone who saw the Trojans play in 2022 knows they need major help on defense.

They have a lot of experience at linebacker but a player like Curtis can step in and  some fresh blood.

Others to Watch

Kenyon Sadiq, TE, Idaho Falls, IDOregon
Daylen Austin, CB, Long Beach, CAOregon
Hunter Clegg, DE, American Fork, UTUtah
Ashton Cozart, WR, Flower Mound, TXOregon
CJ Blocker, CB, New Caney, TXUtah

—More from Jack Follman—