Ranking the Pac-12's Quarterbacks for 2015

Cody Kessler takes the No. 1 spot.

Quarterback play is usually a strength in the Pac-12, and all signs point to 2015 as another deep year for signal-callers on the West Coast. USC’s Cody Kessler leads the way in our quarterback rankings, but California’s Jared Goff is a rising star and should have a huge season in Sonny Dykes’ offense.

 

After Kessler and Goff is a duo of intriguing quarterbacks in Arizona’s Anu Solomon at No. 3 and Oregon’s Vernon Adams at No. 4. As a graduate transfer, Adams has only one season of eligibility remaining. However, he is a huge addition to the Ducks as they look to replace Marcus Mariota.

 

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2015. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors - pure talent, supporting cast, 2015 projection and scheme changes (just to name a few) - were considered and projected to rank the quarterbacks in the Pac-12 for 2015.

 

Ranking the Pac-12 Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Cody Kessler, USC

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

The Trojans have playoff aspirations in 2015, and coach Steve Sarkisian’s team might have to lean on its offense early in the season with the departure of Leonard Williams at defensive end. Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem for USC next season, as Kessler is poised to challenge for All-American honors, and the receiving corps is stocked with talent. In 13 games last year, Kessler threw for 3,826 yards and 39 scores. He also tossed just five interceptions. One area for Kessler to improve in 2015: Performances against top 25 teams. In games against ranked teams in 2014, Kessler threw only four touchdowns to three interceptions.

 

2. Jared Goff, California

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

California’s offense thrived in coach Sonny Dykes’ second year, increasing its scoring average from 23 points a game in 2013 to 38.3 in 2014. A big reason for the offensive explosion was the development of Goff. In his second year as the starter, Goff threw for 3,973 yards and 35 scores to only seven interceptions. The junior is poised for an even better 2015 season, as California returns one of the nation’s best receiving corps and an underrated running back Daniel Lasco.

 

3. Anu Solomon, Arizona

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Solomon was solid in his first year as the starter, completing 313 of 540 passes for 3,793 yards and 28 scores. He also rushed for 291 yards and two touchdowns. But Solomon suffered an ankle injury late in the year and struggled in his final two outings, tossing two picks against Boise State and throwing for only 34 yards against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship. While Solomon’s finish left something to be desired, he should rebound with a full offseason to heal. Coach Rich Rodriguez is among the nation’s top offensive minds, and with a loaded receiving corps in place, Solomon is poised to improve off a promising freshman campaign.

 

4. Vernon Adams, Oregon

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Adams is easily one of the nation’s most intriguing quarterbacks for 2015. In three years at Eastern Washington, Adams threw for 10,438 yards and 110 scores and added 1,282 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. With one year of eligibility left as a graduate student, Adams transferred to Oregon for his final season. The senior inherits big shoes to fill with Marcus Mariota off to the NFL, but Adams is a dynamic replacement. It may take a game or two for Adams to adjust to the FBS level. However, the California native should keep Oregon’s offense performing at a high level and will be among the Pac-12’s top quarterbacks in 2015.

 

5. Mike Bercovici, Arizona State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

This will be Bercovici’s first opportunity to be Arizona State’s No. 1 quarterback for a full season, but he’s already a known commodity in Tempe. The California native started three games in 2014 and finished last season with 1,445 yards and 12 passing scores to just four interceptions. Bercovici torched UCLA’s secondary for 488 yards and threw for 510 yards (and the game-winning Hail Mary as time expired) versus USC. If the senior picks up where he left off as a fill-in for Taylor Kelly, Arizona State’s offense will be among the best in the Pac-12 once again. And he has a little extra help on the way with the addition of UCLA graduate transfer Devin Lucien at receiver.

 

6. Kevin Hogan, Stanford

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Stanford’s defense is expected to take a step back with the departure of a handful of key players. But even if the Cardinal isn’t as dominant on defense in 2015, coach David Shaw’s team could match last year’s win total with improvement on offense. Hogan is a three-year starter under center and is coming off back-to-back solid outings to end Stanford 2014 season. Against UCLA and Maryland, Hogan completed 30 of 39 passes for 423 yards and four scores. If Hogan picks up where he left off in 2014, the senior should have his best season in a Stanford uniform.

 

7. Sefo Liufau, Colorado

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Liufau threw for 3,200 yards and 28 scores in his first full year as Colorado’s starting quarterback. The Washington native also completed 66.1 percent of his passes in Pac-12 games and finished 2014 by throwing for 317 yards against Utah. Liufau’s development is a big reason why the Buffaloes are poised to take a step forward in coach Mike MacIntyre’s third season after winning just one conference game over the last two years. Top receiver Nelson Spruce also returns, giving Colorado one of the Pac-12’s top quarterback-receiver connections in the conference.  

 

8. Travis Wilson, Utah

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Wilson returned from an injury-shortened 2013 season to throw for 2,170 yards and 18 touchdowns. The California native lost the starting job to Kendal Thompson for two games but still guided Utah to its best record in Pac-12 play since joining the conference in 2011. In addition to his passing numbers, Wilson added 309 yards and five scores on the ground. The Utes need to find playmakers at receiver, but the offensive line is solid, and running back Devontae Booker is one of the best in the Pac-12. With a good supporting cast, the Utah coaching staff hopes Wilson puts everything together for a solid senior season.

 

9. Josh Rosen, UCLA

2015 Year of Eligibility: True Freshman

 

Talent certainly isn’t an issue for Rosen. The California native ranked as the No. 12 recruit in the 2015 247Sports Composite and enrolled in time to compete in spring practice. It’s never easy starting as a true freshman for a Power 5 team, but Rosen is UCLA’s best option at quarterback. Is he ready to take the reins of the Bruins’ offense in 2015? While he will need time to learn, UCLA should have a solid defense and returns standout running back Paul Perkins.

 

10. Luke Falk, Washington State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Falk isn’t guaranteed to start, as redshirt freshman Peyton Bender is still in the mix. However, Falk finished the spring on a high note, throwing for 323 yards and two scores in Washington State’s final scrimmage. Falk started the last three games of 2014 after Connor Halliday suffered a season-ending leg injury against USC. In five games last year, Falk completed 156 of 243 passes for 1,859 yards and 13 scores. If he holds off Bender, Falk is going to post huge numbers in Mike Leach’s high-powered offense.

 

11. K.J. Carta-Samuels, Washington

2015 Year of Eligibility: Redshirt Freshman

 

The Huskies have a three-way competition for the starting job with Cyler Miles not expected to return to the team in 2015. Carta-Samuels, Jeff Lindquist and true freshman Jake Browning will continue their battle into the fall after a close competition in the spring. Carta-Samuels is penciled in as the favorite here, but Lindquist or Browning could take the top spot in the fall. Carta-Samuels ranked as a four-star recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite.

 

12. Seth Collins, Oregon State

2015 Year of Eligibility: True Freshman

 

All signs point to a rebuilding year in Gary Andersen’s debut at Oregon State. The Beavers return just nine overall starters and have significant question marks on both sides of the ball. Collins – a true freshman from California – finished spring ball with a slight edge over redshirt freshman Nick Mitchell for the starting job. Collins was regarded as a three-star recruit in the 247Sports Composite and completed 12 of 22 passes for 208 yards and two scores in Oregon State’s spring game. 

More Stories: