Posted on May 24, 2021
The shortened 2020 season was not a great one for Pac-12 quarterbacks. The expected stars underwhelmed, and the top-rated one—Davis Mills—left early for the NFL.
Let’s hope the strangeness of COVID just made things difficult for a lot of QBs in the Pac-12, and the next generation of star quarterbacks start to emerge in 2021.
Here’s how I think they line up heading out of Spring.
1. Kedon Slovis, Junior, USC
There’s no question to me Slovis is the best QB returning in the Pac-12, and one of the most-accurate quarterbacks in the nation.
He was better as a freshman and no one coming back has his polish and can fill it up the way he does when rolling.
He has a lot of work to do, though, before I think he’s at the level many expect him to be—and he needs to perform better against top competition, namely Oregon.
2. Jayden Daniels, Junior, Arizona State
Daniels was huge as a freshman in two big wins against Michigan State and Oregon, and regularly flashes star potential as exciting as any quarterback in the nation.
Like Slovis, he wasn’t great in the shortened 2020 season and has a lot to prove before he’s anointed the All-American type performer he’s expected to be.
Still, he’s the clear best dual-threat QB in the conference, and I have high hopes for him next season.
3. Charlie Brewer, Senior, Utah
He isn’t the second coming, but Brewer has already thrown for nearly 10,000 yards and tossed 65 touchdowns at the Power 5 level when he was a starter at Baylor.
He brings a stability and consistency a lot of the conference’s unproven quarterbacks don’t. Seems like he will be pretty solid at worst.
4. Dylan Morris, Sophomore, Washington
Really tough call here because the talent drops off a cliff after Daniels. Case in point, Morris isn’t even a 100% lock to start in 2021.
He was efficient in Washington’s four games last year and stepped up in a way most of the other quarterbacks in the Conference below him haven’t shown consistently thus far.
5. Chase Garbers, Senior, Cal
Most people expected Garbers to at least semi-break out in 2020, but he definitely did not in the abridged season.
I’ll give him a semi-mulligan given the weird year, but he hasn’t shown much yet as a passer, and I’ll keep him here based on his ability to step up in crunch time to win games and his running ability.
6. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Senior, UCLA
DTR is about the only quarterback in the Conference who had his best season in the weird 2020.
He looked a lot more like the exciting dual-threat QB he flashed at times in his first two years at UCLA.
I think he’s shown that he’s at least a decent Pac-12 starter now.
7. Anthony Brown, Senior, Oregon
Brown flashed well in spot duty when coming in for the struggling Tyler Shough.
I’m not sure he quite set the world on fire, though, and he was serviceable as a starter at Boston College.
It looks like he’s going to win the job in a talented Oregon quarterback room, so that shows he could easily climb up to the third spot. He’ll just have to prove it more first.
8. Sam Noyer, Senior, Colorado
Noyer looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the Conference out of the gate when the season got started in 2020 before things got tough.
He came down to Earth against better competition and looked more like what he probably is. Him coming back for another senior season was a score for Colorado.
9. Jayden de Laura, Freshman, Washington State
I really liked what I saw in de Laura as a true freshman starter in 2020.
He looked like one of the most-dynamic QBs we’ve seen recently at WSU because of his ability to make plays with his feet, and it will be interesting to see what he does in Nick Rolovich’s offense with more time.
He got a DUI in the off-season, though, so it has put his starter status in further question.
10. Tanner McKee, Sophomore, Stanford
Most seem to be projecting Jack West as the 2021 starter in Palo Alto, but I still like McKee, seeing him as the player with the higher ceiling.
If he’s able to beat out West, based on what I’ve seen from the senior, this is where he should sit going into the season.
11. Tristan Gebbia, Junior, Oregon State
Gebbia has had some time to show what he can do as Oregon State’s starter.
It hasn’t been truly remarkable. He will need to show more if he’s going to be anything more than a solid starter at best for the Beavers.
12. Jordan McCloud, Sophomore, Arizona
He hasn’t practiced yet, but I think McCloud wins the starting job at Arizona.
He showed that he’s at least a decent starter at South Florida and that should be enough to rise above an inexperienced QB room.
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