Pac-12 Apostles Podcast: Power Shift- The Rise of UCLA and the Fall of the North

In this episode of the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden get into all of the action in week one, including a disastrous showing by the schools up north, though George thinks the Pac-12 at least outperformed the ACC. Who put on the worst coaching clinic- Justin Wilcox, Nick Rolovich, or Jimmy Lake? The guys get into their Pac-12 power rankings, and are unified at the top after UCLA’s dominant performance against LSU. Finally, Previews and picks for the upcoming week 2 slate of games.

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Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Gerald Alexander: Miami Dolphins Defensive Backs Coach, Former NFL Player, and CAL DB Coach

Gerald Alexander: Miami Dolphins Defensive Backs Coach, NFL Player

In this episode of the GW podcast, Gerald Alexander joins me. He has gone from an undergraduate assistant coach at Arkansas State to defensive backs coach of the Miami Dolphins in 8 years.  GA explains to us how he did it, what his biggest motivations are, things successful people do. He also details how to recruit players in college football and specifically the Pac-12.

Gerald talks about the leadership, focus, and dedication it takes to succeed in life, football, and coaching. He also discusses the importance of mentorship and seeking good counsel to make quality decisions.

Coach Gerald Alexander

Gerald Alexander established himself as an excellent recruiter in his years as a college football coach. He details the arduous and time-consuming process of recruiting high school players. He also discusses leaving a program for another job after recruiting players toa school.

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The George Wrighster podcast features great interviews where you get to know great people discussing faith, family, fatherhood, food, and sports. We get to know and learn from the personalities that entertain us outside of what they are famous for. Shoot us an email with comments or guest ideas: Please be sure to share the podcast with a friend, subscribe, and leave a 5* rating.

Who is George Wrighster?

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and veteran NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, writer, speaker, and analyst, he is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has also found success in the business world as an entrepreneur and investor. George is a lifelong learner who loves having conversations that educate and uplift. He has also covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014.

Unafraidshow Bold Prediction: Call football beats USC

California Golden Bears win debut against UC Davis

What the odds say about Cal Football’s chances

Per Vegas sports-books, Cal Football opened as 6.5-point underdogs. ESPN’s Football Power Index gave USC a 63.1-percent chance of winning, while numberFire’s Win Probability gave USC a 59.2-percent chance. Adding to that, USC is ranked fifth in Unafraidshow’s Pac-12 Power Rankings, while Cal is seventh. Almost everyone has USC claiming the victory.

Why USC Should Win

It’s for good reason, too. Don’t get me wrong. USC is a good team. They are 6-and-4, bowl eligible and have a breakout quarterback.

USC’s Offense

Currently, USC’s offense averages:

  • 30.5 points-per-game
  • 444 yards-per-game (311 passing, 133 rushing)
  • 45-percent success rate on third down (59 of 131)
  • 56-percent success rate on fourth down (5 of 9)

In nine games this season, Kedon Slovis looks like a future-star.

His 156.1 Passing Efficiency Rating and 20-9 touchdown-interception ratio are both good. In the seven games he’s started and finished, Slovis has four wins, three losses. His wins came against Stanford, Arizona, Colorado and Arizona State. When he started, USC lost to BYU, Notre Dame and Oregon. All in all, he’s played well for a rookie.

Star Wide Receivers

With all the praise given to Slovis, it’s important to remember that USC’s wide receivers are the stars of the show. In the Pac-12 conference, USC’s top-three wide outs are each top-ten in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

  • Michael Pittman Jr.
    • 71 (No. 1) receptions
    • 938 (No. 1) receiving yards
    • 8 (No. 3) receiving touchdowns
  • Tyler Vaughns
    • 62 (No. 3) receptions
    • 752 (No. 4) receiving yards
    • 5 (No. 8) receiving touchdowns
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown
    • 55 (No. 5) receptions
    • 666 (No. 7) receiving yards
    • 5 (No. 8) receiving touchdowns

USC’s Defense

On defense, they’re holding teams to 28.1 points-per-game and 418 yards-per-game. That’s not ideal, considering they’re only averaging 30.5 points-per-game. But, it highlights why they are 6-and-4 and not 8-2.

Why Cal Football will win

Injuries to USC

Unfortunately, USC’s recent health hasn’t been good. Running backs Stephen Carr, Merkese Stepp and Vavae Malepeai were all out. Hopefully Carr and Malepeai can play against Cal. But if not, USC plays without three, key running backs.

More importantly, USC’s Brett Neilon left last week’s game with a calf strain. That calf strain sidelines him for multiple weeks, while Justin Dedich takes over. Adding to that is the health of Kedon Slovis. Again, during the same game against WSU, Slovis dealt with cramps that briefly sidelined him. While he sat out two series, they had to use an IV pump.

After starting out the game 15 of 17 for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns (on the first four drives), USC slumped. They only scored three points the rest of the game. Following the four touchdowns, their drives ended:

  • 5 punts
  • One fumble
  • One interception
  • One turnover on downs
  • One field goal

If USC isn’t in better health, Cal football takes the W.

Cal Football’s Defensive Strength

While not elite anymore, the Cal football defense is still good. They rank 30th in DFEI, according to footballoutsiders. Their .38 DFEI best USC’s .25 DFEI. Additionally, the strength of Cal’s defense directly challenges the strength of USC’s offense. Cal’s secondary is their best feature, while USC’s talent is in their receiving corps. They’ll have their work cut out for them guarding Michael Pittman Jr., but if anyone can do it, Cal can.

Chase Garbers is back

Remember Chase Garbers?

Back when the Cal football program was winning and ranked, Garbers was their guy. Before his Week 5 injury, Garbers led Cal to four straight wins. In five games (one partial), Garbers showcased a 148.1 Passing Efficiency Rating, alongside an 8-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. After years of poor play, Cal actually had an offense. Following his injury, they lost four straight games.

But now, finally throwing without limitations, Chase Garbers is good to go. Even if Justin Wilcox won’t name him as the starter yet, he should be. Garbers played well enough at the start of the season to earn the job. Moreover, Garbers brings a running dimension. Oh, and let’s not forget that Garbers led Cal football to a victory last season against USC.

Cal Bears get Blanked but can Salvage Season

California Golden Bears win debut against UC Davis

After a trip to Salt Lake City to take on the University of Utah Utes ended with Cal being shutout for the first time in 20 years. Against Utah, last year’s Pac-12 champions, the Bears were outclassed from the start. The defense which has held the last 14 opponents in a row under 24 points has been teetering on the edge for the last couple weeks. Finally succumbing to the Utes (35-0). The Utes had no trouble dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and limited the Bears to just 43 offensive plays.

Although things haven’t gone the way of the Bears as of late, losers of four straight conference games with injuries derailing a promising start to the season. The Bears refuse to give in or give up, senior consensus mid-season All-American, and Chuck Bednarik Award semi-finalist Evan Weaver will have none of it.

Salvaging the Season and Getting to a Bowl Game

At (4-4), while showing tenacity, perseverance, and a never quit mentality, the Bears are more likely than not playing out the string for bowl eligibility. Currently possessing a (1-4) conference record, the Bears are the Pac-12 North division cellar dwellers.

However wins over Washington State (11/9), Stanford (11/23), and USC (11/16) can go a long way to securing a bid in a bowl game. The Pac-12 will send six representatives to participate in the Las Vegas Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Cheez-It Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Sun Bowl, and the Alamo Bowl.

Bowl games are excellent recruiting sellers. In order for the Bears to be able to once again challenge for conference supremacy, they need to get more talented across the board. As last reported by Bears Insider, Cal has 23 commits for the 2020 class thus far, 22 of these incoming players are three-star recruits. In order to remain competitive in the Pac-12, Cal is going to need to add premium pieces to the puzzle.

What Can the Cal Bears Rely on and What Do They Need?

Coach Justin Wilcox has been setting the foundation of his football program and the nation has taken notice. At one point, the Bears were ranked as high as #15 in the AP poll. Of Cal’s multiple marquee wins, the most exciting had to be against the Ole Miss Rebels.

Quarterback Chase Garbers had the best game of his career throwing 23/35 for 357 yards and 4 TDs. But the game was sealed by that Bear defense stonewalling the Rebels at the goal line. In the next game against the Arizona State Sun Devils, Garbers was 9/12 for 117 yards and a TD prior to getting an upper-body injury which has taken the majority of his season away. What does it all mean?

What it means is that coach Wilcox and his staff have a daunting task ahead of them as the Bears have demonstrated quite a bit of holes in need of filling. Moving forward the Bears have their starter at quarterback, but must develop a capable backup or two. Since Garbers’ injury, the offense has come to a screeching halt. When Garbers returns the time to surround him with weapons is now. Speed kills and the Bears need more of it.

On offense and defense, the Bears are in possession of great football speed and playing speed. Meaning in order to match up with some of the more marquee teams such as Oregon, USC, Arizona St., Utah, Stanford, and UCLA’s of the Pac-12 Cal is going to need a couple of burners and big bodies.

Cal Golden Bears Recruiting

As far as recruiting goes the Bears have plenty of things working in their favor. With the freshly renovated Aaron Rodgers Locker Room, Cal Memorial Stadium and a beautiful campus. They have a coach who is recognized as a premier coach, a program that has been ranked at some point in each of the last two seasons. A solid quarterback, and a school whose alumni have and will join the ranks of pro footballs Hall of Fame.

Not to mention an opportunity to be one of the contributing players who helped get the Bears back over the hump and possibly the first Pac-12 team into the College Football playoff equation. A place where you can achieve one of the best educations in the country, becoming a Bear should be the decision of every young high school hopeful.

See where Cal ranks in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 10

Fixing the California Golden Bears Offensive Woes

Cal Golden Bears

On Saturday the Cal Bears traveled to the great salt lake to take on the #12 ranked University of Utah. Losers of their last three contests, (0-3) in conference play, and nearly out of conference title contention the Bears have had issues. Let us face facts about what is going on in Berkley, Ca. The California Golden Bears have been absolutely decimated by injuries. On Saturday the Bears travel to Salt Lake City to take on the #12 ranked Utah Utes.

To a man, nobody affiliated with the team will use it as an excuse. No one will tell you who are walking wounded, and certainly won’t allow for self-pitying.

But with the losses mounting after a blistering start, the Bears find themselves two games behind the first-place Oregon Ducks. If that wasn’t bad enough, they lost the head-to-head matchup as well.


Without sophomore quarterback, Chase Garbers at the helm, offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin’s offense has become predictable, stagnant, and end zone challenged.

It’s nearly heartbreaking for the defense to continue holding teams to 24 points or less week in and week out, only to lose because the offense couldn’t get anything going at all.

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Feed Your Bears

The California Golden Bears have a variety of talent at the wide receiver position that has been starving for opportunities. We have seen Travon Clark, Nikko Remigio, Jordan Duncan, and Kekoa Crawford emerge as playmakers.

Jake Tonges has been making an impact in the passing game lately, while his numbers may not reflect it, his size and natural ability are going to pay off soon. The icing on the cake, Tonges is a more than capable blocker as well.

No matter who is at quarterback, these young men are going to need to get catchable targets. Garbers has a shoulder issue which we should infer is quite possibly a long term injury. Devon Modster still had an undiagnosed injury at the time of coach Wilcox’s postgame presser.

Change in Offensive Strategy

Modster, if cleared to play, looked comfortable with being outside the pocket. With the injuries to the offensive line, standing in the pocket hasn’t exactly been the best spot to survey the field. Bootlegs and naked bootlegs have been types of plays Modster has excelled with.

Possessing a good arm, Moister struggles with accuracy when amped up. Once settled, he can pinpoint the football on deep passes and intermediate crossing routes. He makes good decisions on when to tuck the ball and run. Against the Beavers, he had 19 rushes for 76 yards before bowing out with an injury.

California Bears Rushing Offense

Christopher Brown Jr. had a monster game against UC Davis 38 plays from scrimmage for 206 total yards and 1 TD. For the season CBJ has 121 rushing attempts for 480 yards and 4TDS.

CBJ is a multi-faceted back, with a nice set of hands and a solid route runner. A one-cut runner, CBJ has shown nice vision and his cutback game is very underrated for a 230 pound back. While the majority of Cal’s rushing attack occurs in the shotgun formation perhaps a small formational tweak can help both the offensive line and CBJ get going again.

The pistol formation allows for a happy unification for all. The offensive line gets that extra millisecond to reach and sustain their blocks in a zone and or gap rushing attack. CBJ, doesn’t have to run against a stacked box that already knows where the play is going. Running downhill is usually the best way to deploy a bigger back and opens up the play-action game.

What’s Next For Cal

After a 2.5 game offensive lull, it had appeared the Bears offense was ending it’s hibernation and regaining its stride. The California Golden Bears have played ranked teams incredibly tough and the defense will keep them in the game. Whether or not the coaching staff implements a different gameplan or incorporates a few subtle changes remains to be seen. Be that as it may, if the Bears intend to keep their slim conference title hopes alive, they have to win this weekend or they will be playing for a bowl game the remainder of the season.

Week 5 Predictions and Preview, Bryce Young Decommits, D’Eriq King, Pac-12 Conference Players of the Week

Pac-12 Apostles Podcast: Week 5 Predictions and Preview, D'Eriq King

George and Ralph preview all the Pac-12 conference college football games week 5. The visiting teams have a legit opportunity to win every game this weekend. They disagree heavily on the outcome of the Cal at Arizona State game. Check out the week 5 Pac-12 Power Rankings.

Houston quarterback D’Eriq King is redshirting the rest of the season and transferring to another school to play. The Apostles discuss whether this is good for college football and would we support his decision if it happened to our favorite team.

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They also discuss top CA high school quarterback Bryce Young’s decommitment from USC to commit to Alabama.

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the Pac-12 conference. They talk about the good, bad, and the ugly about the Pac-12. Join them in becoming a Pac-12 Apostle by subscribing and sharing the podcast. Send your thoughts, comments, and :30 ranks to The best comments and rants will be included in the show.

Why the 2019 UW Football Team isn’t Done Yet

2019 UW Football Washington Huskies

UW Football is Back in the Mix

Just two weeks ago, after a heartbreaking loss to Cal, everyone, Unafraidshow included, thought that UW football was out. In that loss, Washington was reluctant to score touchdowns and ultimately failed offensively. In a tight race for College Football Playoffs, in-conference losses like that make or break a season.

However, somehow, UW football is still in the mix. They are the No. 17 team in the nation, third to California (No. 15) and Oregon (No. 13). Even with the loss to Cal, Washington is showing signs that they can fight for the Pac-12 North.

The Washington Huskies Offense is Rolling

UW’s Jacob Eason

“I mean, he’s an NFL quarterback.”

“He’s got the size, the arm, and everything. When he’s dialed in on the plays and his reads and things like that, he’s one of the greats.”

Aaron Fuller

In a dominant win, Jacob Eason dismantled through the air. He was precise, making tight-window after tight-window throw. In the first half, Eason had a streak of 13-consecutive completions. Additionally, Eason displayed a big arm and a knack for making big plays out of nothing.

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Efficiently, Eason finished 24 of 28 with 290 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He continues to impress scouts, fans and the Pac-12 alike.

The Rest of the UW Football Offense

Aside from the Huskies loss to Cal, Eason and the UW offense looks incredible. The two-headed rush attack of Sean McGrew and Richard Newton is consistent and powerful. But, the receivers are making the big difference. Aaron Fuller is making big plays, both in the receiving game and on special teams.

Adding to Fuller’s playmaking are seniors Andre Baccellia and Hunter Bryant. While Baccellia is certainly having a solid start of the season, Hunter Bryant continues to be the most difficult man to cover. Bryant is too big, too strong for a defensive back. But, he’s also too fast and shifty for a linebacker to try and cover him. He’s looking more and more like a first or second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

If the offense continues to make big plays, UW football will be the one to beat. 

Strength of Schedule

In the Pac-12 North, UW football is competing with Oregon and Cal for the top spot. After reviewing their rest of season schedules, there are some intriguing findings.

AP Ranked Opponents:

  • Cal: 3 (Oregon, USC, Utah)
  • Oregon: 3 (Cal, USC, Washington)
  • UW: 3 (Oregon, USC, Utah)

Shared Opponents:

  • Cal & Oregon Share 4 Opponents
  • Oregon & UW Share 5 Opponents
  • Cal & UW Share 6 opponents

Rest of Season Competitors Record

  • Cal: 18-13
  • Oregon: 22-8
  • UW: 19-11

First, it should be noted that anything can happen in the Pac-12. If this season has proven anything, it’s that the Pac-12 is full of cannibals. No team is safe in-conference.

Second, it’s important to note that UW football and Cal have much easier schedules than Oregon. But, the overall record (4-0) and strength of schedule still side with Cal. 

UW Football and Cal have the edge over Oregon

Last, Oregon has to play both Washington and Cal. In order to get a top spot, Oregon has to make it past both of them. That’s going to be quite difficult based off of recent play. The overall edge still goes to Cal in their schedule. But, UW football fans can take solace in the similarities between Cal and UW’s rest of season. If Cal slips, UW can leap them.

Bay Area Football California Golden Bears Victorious in Week 1

California Golden Bears win debut against UC Davis

On a beautiful warm sunny day in Berkeley, the California Golden Bears won their 2019 debut against the UC Davis Aggies. With the win today the Bears have now won their sixth consecutive season opener.

Sophomore running back Chris Brown Jr and Junior transfer student KeKoa Crawford were difference makers. Brown, a 6’1″ 230 pound sophomore, carried 26 times for 197 yards, both career highs. He is also the nation’s third leading rusher. Crawford, the 6’1″ 190 pound transfer student from Glendale Community College, had three big catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

While the result was in Cal’s favor, it wasn’t the easy win most hoped for. The ballgame had quite the auspicious start as the Aggies won the toss, choosing to differ. They proceeded to strip Cal’s kickoff return man Ashtyn Davis on the 21 yard line and recovered the fumbe to take possession. Not ideal.

Then, after the turnover the Aggies went 21 yards in four plays, scoring on a 2 yard plunge by Ulonzo Gilliam.

The Aggies didn’t letup either, stifling Cal’s passing game throughout the first quarter. The Bears came out flat and the majority of the offense came from the legs of running back Chris Brown Jr.

Chase Garbers completed just two passes. Meanwhile the Aggies forced two turnovers in the first quarter, with a third coming mere seconds into the second quarter.

A win not without mistakes

Offensive mistakes came early and often including a couple Garbers throws. In back to back plays he rolled out to his right, nearly threw one interception and had the second picked.

But it wasn’t all Garbers’ fault. In the second quarter Cal receiver Jordan Duncan caught a pass, broke a tackle but fumbled the ball. The results? Another turnover.

Garbers weighed-in on what he thought attributed to the slow start.

“I think also offensively we came out too loose. I think we were lackadaisacal to start in a way, I think just getting that first game out of us and we regrouped and we came back in the second quarter and the second half and did what we do.”

Once Cal found their rhythm, however, they didn’t look back. Fortunately this took place in the second quarter.

Cranking up the pressure and going uptempo the Bears started taking it to the Aggies. Garbers started things off with a 13 yard run, followed with a three yard run by Brown Jr. After an incompletion came the chunk plays. First was a 30 yard pass to Nikko Remigio. Next was a four yard run by Brown Jr. and finally capped off by a beautiful 37 yard catch and run by Kekoa Crawford with the exclamation point dive into the end zone.

Calming the nerves

When asked about how he settled his young quarterback down, coach Justin Wilcox had this to say.

“It was calming down and trusting his preparation. We expect him t make plays. He kept his composure and didn’t panic by any means. Overall, I liked that he battled back from a slow start. It was good to see.”

Next drive Garbers completes a 30 yarder to tight end Jake Tonges on the seam route. Garbers goes three completions in a row throwing for 98 yards and appeared to find his rhythm. The Bears scored three times in the second quarter, on a touchdown and two field goals, finishing the quarter winning not only the possession battle 08:20 to 06:40 as well as amassing 177 yards to the Aggies 57.

Aggies take a knee in the end zone on the kickoff and proceed to take the ball 60 yards on 10 plays and kick a game-tying 32 yard field goal from Max O’Rourke.

On Cal’s first possession of the second half they mixed up their play calls beautifully and kept the Aggies off balance. Garbers scrambling and running with the football mystified the Aggies, and they had no answer for it. After a scramble that would have come up short the defense hit him late and the free 15 yards put Cal in position to score. Brown ran the ball in from five yards out off of a nice cutback on an outside zone run giving the Bears a 20-13 lead.

Later in the third Garbers rolled out to his right and threw a pass to Crawford in the end zone, but the pass was tipped by the Aggies Jaylin White. Crawford, made sure to get both feet down in bounds while tracking the ball on the tip drill and caught it for a 26 yard score. The last score would put the Bears up 27-13 and would be the final nail in the coffin.

Next up: Washington Huskies

Cal would finish the day with 471 yards total offense, Garbers was 16-28 for 238 yards 2 TDS and 1INT. The Bears rushed as a whole 51 times for 263 yards 1TD and an average of 4.6 yards per carry. Kicker Greg Thomas was 2/3 on field goals with makes of (44,47) missing on the last 44 yarder. Sophomore linebacker Kony Deng led the Bears in tackles with 12 total, 2 pass break ups, and 2 quarterback hits.

Next up for the Bears is a trip to Washington to take on the Pac-12 champions the University of Washington Huskies.

The 12 Offensive Pac-12 Breakout Players You’ll Know By Season’s End

Pac-12 breakout players Offensive 2019

Pac-12 Breakout Players

Each season, college athletes “come out of nowhere” to impress fans, coaches, scouts and media alike. In 2019, there are a large number of Pac-12 breakout players on offense. The conference is loaded with talent and opportunity. Get ready to watch these players turn heads and find the pay-dirt in 2019.

University of Arizona: Cedric Peterson

WR, Redshirt Senior

In 2018, the University of Arizona’s top-four receivers in receptions and yards were Shawn Poindexter, Tony Ellison, Shun Brown and Devaughn Cooper. Now, the team is without each of them. Cooper was dismissed for violating athletic-department policy and the other three were redshirt seniors in 2018. Clearly, the University of Arizona football needs someone to step up.

To fill the void, Cedric Peterson will likely step up in 2019.

“Now I’m the head guy in the room, now I’m the leader for the first time,” he said to the assembled media. “It’s a little nerve wracking but I’m ready for anything. I’ve been preparing for this my whole life.”

Cedrick Peterson

Peterson is one of two returning receivers with at least one career reception for the University of Arizona. He is the only scholarship receiver with at least one game started for the Wildcats. Additionally, outside receivers coach Taylor Mazzone believes that Peterson will replace Poindexter. As an outside receiver in 2018, Peterson gathered multiple receptions in 7 of 12 games, was praised for his “sturdy” blocking (which helped the Pac-12’s best rushing team). All in all, he’s the guy with the most experience and the clearest opportunity to step up.

Arizona State University: Jayden Daniels

QB, Freshman

Jayden Daniels has already broken a record for Arizona State University. At the start of the season, he will be ASU’s first true freshman to open the season at quarterback.

“I think he manages the game really well,” Edwards said. “He doesn’t make a lot of bad throws, to be quite honest. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s got a lot of poise.”

ASU Coach Herm Edwards

In high school, Daniels was impressive. For Cajon High School, he had 1,389 pass attempts for 14,007 yards, 170 touchdowns, and 25 interceptions. Additionally, he added 562 carries for 3,645 yards and 41 touchdowns. Because of his excellence, he is Southern California’s high school career holder for passing yards and passing touchdowns (he’s second in California state history to Jake Browning). He’s also the state record holder for total offensive yards in a single season. As far as high school careers go, he was an all-star quarterback.

Now, as the starter of a Pac-12 collegiate team, he has to grow, learn and improve to the speed of the game. Because he’s already impressing coaches with his decision making, look for him instantly join other Pac-12 breakout players and remain relevant for his collegiate career.

Cal: Christopher Brown Jr.

RB, Sophomore

Cal’s lead back, Patrick Laird, left for the NFL. He vacates 223 carries and 51 receptions from 2018. Now Christopher Brown Jr. has the chance to take over the lead-back role. At 6-foot-1, 230lbs, Brown has feature-back size. Additionally, he showed that he can carry the load for Cal when Laird exited in the Cheez-It Bowl against TCU. In that game, Brown rushed for 57 yards, while adding 3 receptions for 14 yards.

Also, Brown is known for breaking through arm-tackles and avoiding contact for long gains. Because of his powerful and elusive skill set, he’s a threat to take any rush to the house. Look for Brown to take over and become the feature of Cal’s offense in 2019.

UCLA: Chase Cota

WR, Sophomore

Chase Cota, didn’t hesitate to start producing for UCLA football. As a true freshman, he instantly made a splash. The 4-star recruit played in all 12 games and showed versatility as both a receiver and on special teams. He earned 13 catches for 168 yards and was 5th in team targets. On the field, Cota gained praise for his speed, intelligence, route running, and hands. What more could you want from a receiver?

In high school, he gathered experience on both sides of the ball, playing as receiver and defensive back. Additionally, his father is Chad Cota, former Oregon star and an 8-year retiree of the NFL. In 2019, Cota should be inserted into a starting rotation and will quickly gain trust from Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Colorado: Jaren Mangham

RB, Sophomore

Another 4-star recruit, Jaren Mangham is set for big opportunities in 2019. Colorado football lost Travon McMillian and Kyle Evans. As a recruit, ESPN ranked Mangham as the No. 37 athlete in the nation and Rivals ranked him as the No. 14 running back. Mangham is 6-foot-2, 215lbs. At Cass Tech High School, he notched 31 touchdowns in his senior season. 26 rushing, 2 receiving and 3 kickoff returns. He has excellent talent, size, and versatility.

Currently, he is the third running back behind Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith. However, Mangham is sparking interest in fans and coaches alike. In an April spring game, Mangham added three touchdowns and 149 yards with his rushing prowess. Without major talent or experience ahead of him, Mangham will set himself apart by season’s end.

University of Oregon: Sean Dollars

RB, Freshman

Yet again, the University of Oregon recruited top talent. This time, the Ducks signed the Nation’s No. 1 All-Purpose back recruit, Sean Dollars. Dollars is fast and elusive. Though he is 5-foot-10, 185lbs, his versatility in the running and receiving game will earn him precious snaps in Oregon’s high-octane offense. Dollars already impressed at spring and fall camps.

With highlights like those, it’s clear why Dollars made it on our Pac-12 breakout players list. With his diverse skillset and natural athletic talent, Sean Dollars will make an immediate impact with Oregon’s offense.

Oregon State University: Jesiah Irish

WR, Redshirt Freshman

When it comes to speed, Jesiah Irish has it. At Oregon State University’s pre-camp “combine in March, Irish unofficially ran a 4.26 40-yard dash. Also, as a top-baseball prospect, Irish recorded the fastest time running from second base to home for his age group. He has blazing speed. Downfield or after the catch, Irish is a danger to opposing defenses.

“He can take the top off the coverage,” Smith said. “It helps everything. In the run game, if you can put a guy out there who can roll, the safety better back up. You take a couple guys out of there, that’s a few less guys to tackle the running back.”

Jonathan Smith

Though his role still might go under-appreciated in 2019, Irish should still make enough plays to become a well-known name for Oregon State University football. Blazing speed makes for impressive plays and highlights, which is why he earned his spot on our Pac-12 breakout players set.

USC: Markese Stepp

RB, Redshirt Freshman

Ahead of Stepp are two solid talents: Vavae Malepeai and Stephen Carr. Malepeai, a former 4-star recruit and currently a redshirt junior, led the team with 8 rushing touchdowns last season. He is Hawaii’s high school leader for both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. The 6-foot, 200lb back is known for strength and power. Additionally, Stephen Carr is the talent that has yet to hit. The former 5-star recruit and current junior battled injuries in both of his first seasons. Now, supposedly healthy, Carr has his chance to shine.

But, with Carr’s injury history and Malepeai’s current knee injury from an early-August practice, opportunity is there for the taking. Leaving behind recency bias, Markese Stepp will be the go-to power-back for this offense. He’s got a smash-mouth running style and has health on his side. Sometimes, all a player needs is a healthy body in order to earn snaps and glory. His big deficiency is in his receiving skills. He lacks experience and stats to show that he is versatile enough to be a bell-cow in Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense. Nonetheless, Stepp has a big chance to slip ahead of the oft-injured Carr and currently injured Malepeai.

Stanford: Colby Parkinson

TE, Junior

Colby Parkinson is a big boy. At 6-foot-7, 250lbs, he’s all the tight end a team needs. But, in addition to his size, Parkinson was an excellent deep threat for Stanford football. In 2018, he recorded 29 receptions for 485 yards and 7 touchdowns. His 16.7 yards per reception average displays his big-play ability. He’s not just a big body. Parkinson showed that he is a quality downfield option.

Additionally, it is important to remember that Stanford lost JJ Arcega Whiteside, Trenton Irwin, and Kaden Smith. Parkinson is their leading, returning receiver. With rapport, experience, size and big-play ability on his side, Parkinson is going to turn NFL scout heads in 2019.

Utah: Jaylen Dixon

WR, Redshirt Sophomore

Redshirt sophomore Jaylen Dixon is ready to build on his redshirt freshman campaign. Last season, he garnered 32 receptions for 589 yards and 18.4 yards per catch. Like Jesiah Irish, Dixon makes his money (even though college athletes aren’t actually paid) with his speed. He is an explosive playmaker that the Utes will definitely utilize going forward.

Most impressive was that Dixon posted a near 75% catch rate last season. With his large depth of target, displaying a catch rate that high is an exceptional talent. Get ready for big plays and a big-time breakout into the Pac-12.

University of Washington: Sean McGrew

RB, Junior

Myles Gaskin, the most productive running back in University of Washington football history, is gone. He leaves behind 259 carries and 21 receptions. Behind him are capable backs that spelled Gaskins in 2018. Salvon Ahmed is the early leader to take over the feature-back role for UW. However, McGrew showed excellent efficiency in 2018 and is poised for a breakout season. His 50 carries for 226 yards and 1 touchdown show good running. But his 6 receptions for 110 yards display an elusive, satellite-back.

Recall that McGrew had 10.56 100-meter-dash speed out of high school. He was a 4-star recruit for good reason. The 5-foot-7 back is quick. When it comes to football, McGrew is explosive. Elite offenses need explosive playmakers. Look for McGrew to compliment Ahmed’s power-back role with his own explosive, satellite-back role. The duo will turn heads in 2018 and McGrew will transform into UW’s version of Tarik Cohen.

Washington State: Max Borghi

RB, Sophomore

Washington State University football’s Max Borghi rounds out the breakout candidates for 2019. WSU lost James Williams to the NFL Draft. He left behind 122 rush attempts and 83 receptions. Williams was utilized in all situations for WSU football.

Last season, Borghi already showed excellent skills when spelling Williams. He tied WSU’s freshman touchdowns record. Last season, he had 72 carries for 366 yards (5.1 YPC) and 8 rushing touchdowns. Borghi also had 53 receptions for 374 yards (7.1 YPR) and 4 touchdowns. He is just finding his form and Williams leaves behind ample opportunity.

At 5-foot10, 197lbs, Borghi isn’t a diminutive satellite-back. He has feature-back size for a collegiate football team. Borghi is powerful with excellent hands. His versatile skill set will impress Pac-12 viewers and earn him a spot in the 2020 draft.

Follow Jeremy McCarthy on Twitter to see how the Pac-12 Breakout Players do this season.

Pac-12 Football: Cal Golden Bears Looking Good After Spring Game

On a beautiful spring day in Berkley, California, the California Golden Bears open up the gates and welcome everyone to the Spring Game and showcase its talent.

The Cal Golden Bears football team finished last season with a wining record of 7-6, giving them just their third winning season in nine years. Looking forward, the PAC-12 conference appears to be wide open and the Bears are poised to bring back 13 players from last seasons stingy 10th ranked defensive units.

The defense features Sr. ILB Evan Weaver a 2nd team All-American, and redshirt Jr. CB Camryn Bynum, leader of the #Takers, the defense, is working towards being even better.

The #Takers, Cal’s defensive back unit was live on the scene when sophomore Safety Daniel Scott made a beautiful play. Dropping back into zone coverage Scott read the eyes of quarterback Robby Rowell and elevated snagging an interception.

Cal Golden Bears gear at

Kuony Deng the 6-foot-6 Jr. ILB dropped back into coverage and somehow managed to avoid detection from sophomore City College of San Francisco transfer Jack Newman, and get setup with for a pick-6.

Transfer student Deon White, OLB, laid down the Hitstick “Crush of the Game” when he stuffed a Gun zone run and completely blew up the ball carrier. The Bears have a long way to go and will find it difficult to fill the shoes of Jordan Kunaszyk, but they appear ready to #EarnIt and be up to the challenge.

Cal Golden Bears gear at


Cal has 4 quarterbacks on the roster Chase Garbers, UCLA transfer student Devon Modster, freshman Robby Rowell, and Jack Newsome. Collectively in the spring game the quarterbacks went 23-32 177 yards 1TD 2INTS. Modster recorded the only passing touchdown of the day and would finish 6-7 27 yards and 1TD. Garbers completed 7-10 for 60 yards with a rushing touchdown. Rowell looked sharp early with the ball coming out on time and with zip. He had the offense in a nice rhythm up until feeding Scott the interception. Rowell’s stat line was 7-10 for 68 yards and 1INT.

Offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin has his work cut out for him as the Bears offense seeks ways to put more points on the board. Returning quarterback Chase Garbers appears to be the likley starter, and his confidence in his ability in the passing game is growing. Last years Bears scored 280 total points and averaged 21.5 points per game.

Baldwin must also find ways to replace Patrick Laird’s production. Laird’s 223 carries accounted for 47% of the run game and his 9 scoring plays (5 rushes, 4 receptions) were 29% of the Bears 29 scores in 2018.

Luckily for Bear enthusiasts everywhere, the 2019 have a healthy sized stable of young workhorses ready to carry the load. Alex Letherda had a team longest run of 29 yards, and would finish the afternoon with 12 carries for 76 yards. Deshawn Collins rushed nine times for 39 yards including a 2yd TD run. The Bears offense appears to be featuring two special players.

Dancing Dancy and J-Hawk

Marcel Dancy turned in one of the top performances of the day, Dancy is a playmaker with vision, speed, power, hands, some shimmy/wiggle, and an ice cold spin move. Dancy would finish the day with 8 carries for 33 yards and a TD, he would also catch 3 passes for 29 yards including this 16 yard catch and run ending in pay dirt.

Jeremiah Hawkins introduced himself to the Golden Bear family with impressive displays of speed, moves, and a punishing stiff arm. Hawkins brings a very much needed shot in the arm to the speed department. What shouldn’t be understated is Hawkins knowledge of how to use his speed. Knowing that the best application of it is actual changing speeds and mixing it up so as to throw off the timing of defenders.

These two dynamic young players look to factor in heavily into Cal’s offensive attack and rightfully so. Dancy runs with power can churn through tackles and freeze defenders in their tracks when he puts them through spinning off of defenders.

Hawkins is 5-foot-8 185 pounds of pure dynamite, and if he’s not blowing past you, he’s embarrassing you with a smooth peel-back block or a merciless stiff-arm to the ground. Hawkins is one tough cookie, and we should hope that he has remedied his ball security issues.