Ranking the Pac-12's Quarterbacks for 2016

Washington State's Luke Falk is poised for another huge season.

The Pac-12 is known for producing its share of high-scoring offenses and standout quarterbacks. And the conference certainly isn’t hurting for talent under center in 2016, as Washington State’s Luke Falk and UCLA’s Josh Rosen return as the league’s top options. Falk will produce huge numbers in coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, while Rosen has all of the physical tools to be a first-round pick. The next group of quarterbacks in the Pac-12 features Washington’s Jake Browning, Arizona’s Anu Solomon, USC’s Max Browne and Oregon’s Dakota Prukop. 

 

How do the new starters in the Pac-12 project with UCLA's Josh Rosen and Washington State's Luke Falk? Athlon has ranked all 12 starters for 2016.

 

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2016. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors - pure talent, supporting cast, 2016 projection and scheme changes (just to name a few) - were considered and projected to rank the quarterbacks in the Pac-12 for 2016.

 

Ranking the Pac-12's Quarterbacks for 2016

 

1. Josh Rosen, UCLA

2016 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

It’s a close call for the No. 1 spot in our Pac-12 quarterback rankings for 2016. Do you go with overall talent (Rosen)? Or do you go with production (Luke Falk)? There’s no wrong answer, but for now, let’s give the nod to overall talent and Rosen. As a true freshman last season, Rosen threw for 3,669 yards and 23 scores and completed 60 percent of his passes.

 

Related: College Football's Top 30 Running Backs on the Rise for 2016

 

2. Luke Falk, Washington State

2016 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

As mentioned above, it’s a close call between UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Falk for the top spot on this list. With Rosen at No. 1, Falk is really 1B in Athlon’s early Pac-12 quarterback rankings for 2016. In his first full season as a starter in 2015, Falk shredded opposing defenses for 4,561 yards and 38 scores. Additionally, Falk completed 69.4 percent of his passes and shared first-team All-Pac-12 honors with California’s Jared Goff last year.

 

3. Jake Browning, Washington

2016 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Browning is one of college football’s top quarterbacks on the rise for 2016. The California native started 12 games in a promising true freshman season in 2015 and threw for 2,955 yards and 16 scores. Browning also finished the year on a high note, connecting on 23 of 34 throws for 284 yards in Washington’s bowl victory over Southern Miss. With a full offseason to work as the starter, along with the return of big-play threat John Ross at receiver, Browning should develop into one of the Pac-12’s top quarterbacks.

 

Related: College Football's Top 10 Teams on the Rise for 2016

 

4. Davis Webb, California

2016 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

The Golden Bears had an extended quarterback battle in the spring to find a replacement for No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. However, coach Sonny Dykes and coordinator Jake Spavital found their quarterback in May, as Webb committed to California as a graduate transfer for the 2016 season. The senior transfers to Berkeley after three years at Texas Tech. During his three seasons with the Red Raiders, Webb threw for 5,557 yards and 46 scores. Webb should make a seamless transition from Texas Tech to California and is one of the Pac-12’s top quarterbacks for 2016.

 

5. Dakota Prukop, Oregon

2016 Year of Eligibility: Senior

 

Oregon is tapping into the FCS ranks in hopes of finding a starting quarterback for the second year in a row. And after Vernon Adams had a successful one-year stint in Eugene, the Ducks are hoping to get similar production out of Prukop. The Montana State graduate transfer earned first-team FCS All-America honors by the Associated Press last year after accounting 3,822 total yards and 39 overall scores. While Prukop is the favorite to take the first snap of 2016, his place at the top of the depth chart isn’t set in stone after a good showing in the spring by redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen.

 

6. Anu Solomon, Arizona

2016 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

After a breakout freshman season, Solomon’s development was slowed by injuries in 2015. In 11 appearances last year, Solomon threw for 2,667 yards and 20 scores and added 198 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Those totals were a step back from his 2014 numbers, which saw Solomon throw for 3,793 yards and 28 scores and rush for 291 yards and two scores. While the offseason should allow Solomon to get back to full strength, he’s also facing a push for the starting job from talented sophomore Brandon Dawkins.

 

7. Max Browne, USC

2016 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Cody Kessler leaves big shoes to fill in Los Angeles, but new coach Clay Helton has two promising options to choose from at quarterback for 2016. Browne left spring with a slight edge over Sam Darnold for the starting job, and the former five-star prospect appears poised for a breakout year. Over the last two years as Kessler’s backup, Browne played in nine games and completed 11 of 19 passes for 143 yards. Helping Browne’s transition into the starting role will be a deep group of skill players, including All-America receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

 

Related: The Pac-12's Top 25 Draft Prospects for 2017

 

8. Sefo Liufau, Colorado

2016 Year of Eligibility: senior

 

Liufau is a tough quarterback to rank for 2016. While Liufau has showed flashes of promise and threw for 3,200 yards and 28 scores in 2014, he suffered a Lisfranc injury against USC last year and is still working to return to 100 percent by this fall. A redshirt season was a possibility, but with Davis Webb going to California, Liufau seems likely to return by the start of 2016.

 

9. Keller Chryst, Stanford

2016 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Kevin Hogan’s leadership and overall impact on Stanford’s offense won’t be easy to replace in 2016. However, the cupboard at quarterback is far from bare for coach David Shaw. Three four-star prospects – Keller Chryst, K.J. Costello and Ryan Burns – are competing for the starting job, with Chryst holding an edge over Burns exiting spring practice. After a redshirt year in 2014, Chryst worked as Hogan’s backup last season and completed 5 of 9 passes for 59 yards and one score. Costello is likely to redshirt in his first year on campus.

 

10. Darell Garretson, Oregon State

2016 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Second-year coach Gary Andersen is looking for a spark on offense after the Beavers managed only 19 points a game in 2015. Garretson is eligible in 2016 after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. In two years at Utah State, Garretson threw for 2,586 yards and 18 scores and completed 63.1 percent of his passes. He’s the favorite exiting spring practice for the starting job, with true freshman Mason Moran and sophomore Marcus McMaryion just behind on the depth chart. Last season’s starter at quarterback – Seth Collins – is slated to move into an all-purpose role for 2016.

 

Related: Ranking College Football's Top 25 Toughest Schedules for 2016

 

11. Manny Wilkins, Arizona State

2016 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

 

Arizona State’s quarterback situation is still a mystery at the end of spring practice. While the Sun Devils may not have a clear No. 1 quarterback, coach Todd Graham has three talented options competing for the starting job. Wilkins – a four-star recruit in the 2014 signing class – worked as Mike Bercovici’s backup last season and appeared in four games, rushing for 55 yards on seven attempts. He’s considered the favorite, but redshirt freshmen Brady White and Bryce Perkins are also in the mix. Regardless of which quarterback emerges as the starter, the Sun Devils should be fine at this position.

 

12. Troy Williams, Utah

2016 Year of Eligibility: Junior

 

Williams is back in the Pac-12 after one standout season at Santa Monica College. The California native originally signed with Washington out of high school and spent two years with the Huskies. In 2014, Williams played in five games at Washington and threw for 176 passing yards on 23 completions. After transferring to Santa Monica College in search of more playing time, Williams torched opposing defenses for 2,750 yards and 31 scores in 2015. Williams ranked as a four-star junior college prospect by the 247Sports Composite but missed part of spring practice due to a sore arm.

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