[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]National Columnist Mike Farrell back with the 3-Point Stance ranking the WR tiers in the PAC 12, takes a whack at the records for the first year head coaches and the best commitment for each ACC team so far in 2023.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
USC landed arguably the top two transfer receivers in the country this spring in Oklahoma sophomore Mario Williams and reigning Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison from Pittsburgh. Addison is in the conversation for best at his position in the nation. Colorado transfer Brenden Rice joins another former Buffaloes receiver Tahj Washington as versatile pieces out wide. Former four-star Gary Bryant has huge potential, and Kyle Ford has already proven to be a quality asset. The Trojans are dripping with talent at receiver.
Good but not Great: Stanford, Washington, Washington State
Elijah Higgins leads a sneaky deep group of Stanford receivers, but a lot of their potential is contingent on health. Higgins had 45 catches for 500 yards while missing two games, while Brycen Tremayne had five touchdowns in five games. Assuming Tremayne and John Humphreys are 100% returning from injuries, they'll be a really solid group, and that's before you factor in Michael Wilson, who returned from injury late last season and looked strong. He should lead the team in catches and yards this season. Also, don't overlook Bryce Farrell - he's a jitterbug with the ball in his hands.
The Huskies get back two of their top three receivers from last season in Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze. Former Michigan transfer Giles Jackson was the only receiver to play in every game for Washington last season, and he's a gadget player that can be used in a variety of ways. Another former transfer, Ja'lynn Polk showed that he can be a big play threat, and with a full season of health, he should be another guy they can count on.
Despite losing their top two receivers from last season, Jake Dickert still has a very solid stable of receivers to work with, starting with De'Zhaun Stribling. Donovan Ollie and Lincoln Victor join Stribling as the most proven options on this roster, but Oregon State transfer Zeriah Beason shouldn't be counted out - he showed some serious flashes in Corvallis and should thrive in a more wide-open offense.
That'll Do: Oregon, Arizona, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah
The Ducks group could vault near the top of these rankings if all the guys pan out, but it's a very young room. Sophomore Kris Hutson is their leading returning receiver, and he's joined by a trio of former four-stars in Dont'e Thornton, Seven McGee, and Troy Franklin to form the young core of this unit. UCLA transfer Chase Cota is a big target and could be an end zone threat. A lot of upside, but not a ton of past production.
Jedd Fisch did an amazing job reeling in five-star receiver Tetairoa McMillan this recruiting cycle, who is the highest-rated player in the history of their program. Dorian Singer is the only returning player with any real snaps under his belt but they're hoping that UTEP transfer Jacob Cowing can make a difference immediately and I think he can be a star.
Tre'Shaun Harrison had the best season of his career last year after transferring from Florida State before the 2020 season and should be the number one guy for the Beavers. Fellow former transfer Tyjon Lindsey (Nebraska) should play a bigger role for Oregon State, while Anthony Gould is a slippery player in the slot. Penn State transfer John Dunmore has a chance to play a big role this year as well.
The Bruins lost their top three pass catchers from last season but still have Kazmeir Allen, who is one of the best returners in the country and will be expected to take a big step forward as a receiver this season. They've brought in two transfers, Titus Mokiao-Atimalala from UCF and Jake Bobo from Duke, to add to Allen and Kam Brown. But the guy everyone is watching out for is four-star freshman Jadyn Marshall, who is an elite track athlete as well and could see the field very early in his career.
Utah's group is very close to being in the bottom tier, but at this point, we have to assume that Kyle Whittingham will be able to get the most out of the talent he has. But the Utes also might be the only program in the country where you could legitimately say their top three tight ends are the three best receivers on the team. Nonetheless, Devaughn Vele is a solid option and can win the 50-50 balls with his 6'4 frame. Solomon Enis is a reliable target, and the staff is hoping that Jaylen Dixon can recapture the magic he had as a freshman.
Cross Your Fingers and Pray: Arizona State, Cal, Colorado
If it weren't for Vanderbilt transfer Cam Johnson, the Sun Devils could legitimately be looking at one of the worst receiver rooms in the country. Andre Johnson's 13 catches for 221 yards are the most for anyone returning from last year's team. Former four-star Elijhah Badger has a good skill set and could be a breakout guy to watch.
Cal only brings back one of their top eight receivers from last season in Jeremiah Hunter, so they have about as many question marks as anyone in the nation. Hunter though is a big play threat and, with a fully healthy season, could prove to be a true number one. They need JUCO transfer Mason Starling to step up from the jump and hope that one of their redshirt freshman in J. Michael Sturdivant or Mavin Anderson catches on. But that's asking for a lot when trying to break in a new quarterback.
RJ Sneed was a great addition for Karl Dorrell and staff from the transfer portal, and he should step in to be their number one guy from the get go. But the only contributors returning from last season are Daniel Arias, Montana Lemonious-Craig, and Chase Penry, who combined for 446 yard and 4 TDs. Still a lot of unknowns for Colorado.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Okay here’s a dumb idea. Why don’t I predict the first year record of all the new Power Five coaches. Fun huh? Keep in mind this is July and this could change as some of these teams haven’t even named a QB starter.
Coaches are in alphabetical order.
Mario Cristobal, Miami
Predicted Record: 9-3
Games at Texas A&M and Clemson are going to be very tough. Getting Pitt and UNC at home is a good break for the 'Canes, but watch out for their Halloween weekend game at Virginia - the Cavaliers are sneaky good and could catch them off guard a week before their annual rivalry game with Florida State.
Kalen DeBoer, Washington
Predicting Record: 8-4
In-conference road trips to Oregon and UCLA are going to be very difficult, and they have an early season non-conference test when Michigan State comes to town week three of the season. They avoid USC and Utah in the South, but the Apple Cup is on the Palouse this year, and there's still a lot of work to do to rebuild their roster.
Jake Dickert, Washington State
Predicted Record: 7-5
Like their arch-rivals in Seattle, Washington State has an early-season matchup against a Big Ten power when they head to Wisconsin in week two. But unlike the Huskies, Jake Dickert's Cougars have to play both Utah and USC in their cross-divisional matchups. That being said, the rest of their schedule is relatively easy, and they have a lot of momentum after finishing strong last season.
Sonny Dykes, TCU
Predicted record: 6-6
You could tell me that Dykes finishes 9-3 or 3-9 in his first year and neither would particularly surprise me, so I'll settle in the middle at 6-6. There are a lot of question marks throughout their roster, and they play a lot of teams with similar talent levels in the Big 12. Games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and at Texas are probably all losses, while games at Baylor and against an always tough Iowa State team are probably ones where the Horned Frogs are underdogs. And you know that SMU will be looking to put it on their old coach in week four.
Mike Elko, Duke
Predicted Record: 2-10
Duke is about as decimated as any roster in the Power 5, so it's no surprise that they'll be underdogs in every game except for maybe their opener against Temple and against FCS North Carolina A&T. Let me put it simply - they're going to be underdogs against Kansas, and that's all you need to know about the uphill climb ahead for Elko.
Tony Elliott, Virginia
Predicted Record: 9-3
I'm way more bullish on the Cavaliers than almost anyone else in the national media, and fortunately for me, they have a very favorable schedule in Tony Elliott's first season. Their five toughest games are all at home (Miami, UNC, Pitt, Coastal Carolina, and Louisville), and the non-conference is very manageable. I would not be surprised at all if they're 7-0 entering the meat of their schedule.
Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame
Predicted Record: 9-3
Freeman takes over in South Bend, and like always, the Irish have a really tough schedule. Opening the season in the Horseshoe is not going to be very fun, and games against Clemson and at USC will not be easy skating. But Freeman is a very fast rising star in the coaching rankings for a reason.
Brian Kelly, LSU
Predicted Record: 7-5
There's more work to do at LSU than a lot of people want to admit - outside of Kayshon Boutte, I'm not sure if any of their starters are above-average SEC players on offense. The first half of the season looks to be a relatively straightforward path, but consecutive games against Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Arkansas before finishing the season at Texas A&M makes anything better than 8-4 highly unlikely and makes 7-5 look likely.
Dan Lanning, Oregon
Predicted Record: 10-2
Like Marcus Freeman, Oregon opens the season with a doozy of a matchup against reigning national champions and Lanning's former team Georgia in Atlanta. The Ducks avoid USC in the South, and have both UCLA and Utah at home. A trip to Pullman could be tricky, and with the Civil War in Corvallis, that could be an upset special as well.
Joey McGuire, Texas Tech
Predicted Record: 5-7
Texas Tech is firmly entrenched in the middle class of the Big 12, which means that most of their games are going to be tossups. However, a tough early season trip to NC State, as well as in-conference games against Texas and Oklahoma are pretty much guaranteed losses. Trips to Kansas State and Oklahoma State are definitely situations where the Red Raiders will be underdogs as well.
Billy Napier, Florida
Predicted Record: 6-6
The first season is going to be tough for Billy Napier. Opening with back-to-back games against top-25 teams in Utah and Kentucky is not an easy start, while trips to Neyland Stadium and Kyle Field are going to be huge tests. Throw in an improved South Carolina and the annual cocktail party, and it could be a long season.
Brent Pry, Virginia Tech
Predicted Record: 7-5
Another coach whose record could be anywhere between 3-9 and 9-3 and I wouldn't be surprised. The non-conference schedule for the Hokies is not very difficult (Liberty is their toughest opponent by leaps and bounds), and they get Miami, Boston College, and Virginia all at home. But games at Miami, Pitt, UNC, and especially NC State are all going to be situations where Virginia Tech are underdogs.
Lincoln Riley, USC
Predicted Record: 10-2
There is not a coach with more pressure on their shoulders this season than Riley - outside of maybe Steve Sarkisian. The Trojans drew an easy crossover schedule in the Pac-12 by getting Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State, and they should win all of those games with relative ease. Their game at Utah on October 15 could determine who wins the South Division, while their last two games at UCLA and against Notre Dame in the Coliseum are both toss-ups.
Brent Venables, Oklahoma
Predicted Record: 10-2
Oklahoma is a machine, and they are still the top dog in the Big 12 even if they didn't make the title game last season. It will be fun to see Oklahoma back in Lincoln, but it's highly doubtful that Nebraska is able to keep up with the Sooners like they did last season. The Red River Rivalry is without a doubt their toughest matchup, and they get, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Kansas State all at home. The only thing that gives me pause about picking them to go undefeated is the fact that I'm still not sold that Dillon Gabriel is 100% back and I see a surprise loss in here somewhere.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]— And finally I’ll continue my look at the best commits in each Power Five conference with the ACC.
CB Antonio Cotman Jr. — He has excellent size and is a legit get from Virginia as BC extends their ACC reach.
DE Peter Woods — I might have QB Christopher Vizzina higher I’m not sure yet but landing an elite rush end in Alabama that Nico Saban wanted is massive.
RB Marquise Collins — He’s the real deal all the way from Texas and has some very nice offers. He’s going to be exciting to watch.
DE Keldric Faulk — Like Clemson, they went into Alabama and landed a dude the Tide wanted.
DE Zachariah Keith — He’s underrated some places but this is a tall and athletic in-state get at rush end.
QB Pierce Clarkson — Yes RB Rueben Owens is ranked higher but Clarkson is the motor under the hood for this recruiting class. He’s arguably the best player recruiter in the country for 2023.
DE Jayden Wayne — He gets the slight nod over OL Francis Mauigoa as Mario Cristobal dominates IMG. He can recruit nationally as well as anyone.
WR Christian Hamilton — He’ll help keep the offense dangerous as he gets elite separation and has excellent hands.
DB Daemon Fagan — A tall and rangy get from Florida is always welcome in the defensive backfield.
QB Kenny Minchey — The last QB named Kenny did pretty well at Pitt and I like this kid's upside.
QB LaNorris Sellers — he’s a solid get from South Carolina but this class is still waiting for a headliner.
LB Kamren Robinson — it’s not a star-studded class but this kid can chase and he’s an in-state must.
ATH Aycen Stevens — He’s tall, big, and athletic, and if linebacker doesn’t work out he can find a home somewhere else.
RB Antonio Robinson — He’s the real deal from Kentucky as Wake continues to do well recruiting this position.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]