Posted: 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2013
By Jack Follman
The 2013 football season is now less than a month away and within the first week I'm sure that there will be a few players who weren't known by many outside of their own team's fanbase that make it clear that they are ready for stardom in 2013. Most of these names should be familiar from either their impact so far, or their recruiting ranking prowess coming out of high school, but I think by the time the 2013 season wraps up, they will have established themselves as standouts in the Pac-12.
Nelson Agholar So. WR USC
Agholar had a breakout game in 2012 in USC's showdown with Oregon when he had 162 yards receiving and a touchdown and the big target will now be counted on to fill the void left by All-American Robert Woods. Agholar has all the physical tools and with Marqise Lee lining up across from him and demanding an infinite amount of defensive attention, he will assuredly get a lot of one-on-one coverage.
Arik Armstead So. DL Oregon
Armstead was one of the top recruits at any position in the Class of 2012 and played sparingly along the Ducks' talented defensive line as a freshman in 2012, flashing a bit of the sky high ceiling that he has with his 6'8 280 frame. Armstead is as unique of an athlete as there is in the Pac-12 as he also played basketball for the Ducks as a freshman and should step up to be the Ducks' scariest player up front with Dion Jordan gone.
B.J. Denker Sr. QB Arizona
It might seem crazy to have a senior be a breakout star, but if Denker can win the job like I think he will, he will entering his first season as a starter in 2013. Denker looks to be the frontrunner to get the job, and even if he isn't as good as Matt Scott, the Arizona quarterback position should produce some serious numbers .
Nick Forbes Jr. LB Cal
Forbes turned it on towards the end of 2012 with 10-plus tackle games against Stanford and Washington and was clearly pegged as one of the future leaders of the Cal defense when he was brought to 2013 Pac-12 media day by Sonny Dykes.
Luke Kaumatule So. TE Stanford
The Cardinal rely on their tight ends more than any program in the nation and with the loss of both Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo, they have a huge opening there that it looks like the barely-tested Kaumatule will try to fill. Kaumatule probably won't be able to fill Ertz' shoes, but at 6'7 260 with good athleticism, Kaumatule should at least make a solid impact in 2013.
Cody Kessler So. QB USC
Maybe I should change this to Whoever Wins the USC Job, but it looked like Kessler might be that guy at the end of spring practice, so I'll go with him for now. If he can get the job, Kessler will have such rich tools to work with, that he will assuredly break out in the conference's marquee job.
Zach Kline Fr. QB Cal
It looks like Kline will be handed the keys to Dykes‘ car and the former-heralded recruit could be poised to be the next young breakout quarterback in the conference in Dyke's up-tempo offense. Kline has the arm and physical tools to excel in the position and if the Cal offense gets rolling, he could end up being one of the best freshman quarterbacks in the country.
Byron Marshall So. RB Oregon
Marshall is expected to fill the Kenjon Barner, every down back role for the Ducks, and history suggests that it might be the most prolific offensive role in the entire country. Marshall was effective in limited duty in 2012, but with Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas joining him in the Ducks' backfield to keep defenses guessing, expect Marshall be the Ducks' next prolific runner.
Paul Richardson Jr. WR Colorado
Richardson was turning into one of the best receivers in the conference as a freshman and sophomore, but an ACL tear in the spring of 2012 prevented him from breaking out last season. Richardson is back though in 2013, and will be the Buffs go-to receiver and likely their best overall player.
Isaac Seumalo So. C Oregon State
Seumalo was the top guard prospect in the Class of 2012 and immediately stepped in as a true freshman in 2012 as the Beavers' starting center. Seumalo excelled as a freshman and made honorable mention All-Pac-12, but I think he will take it to another level in 2012, and could be regarded as the best center in the conference by the end of the season.
Shaq Thompson So. LB Washington
Another five-star recruit from the Class of 2012 that had a good, but not great 2012 season while flashing some of his unlimited potential. Thompson was a safety coming out of high school, but moved to linebackers for the Huskies and now that he has a year under his belt at the position, he should be ready to become one of the best in conference.
Bryce Treggs So. WR Cal
Treggs was top-rated receiver out West in the Class of 2012 and a huge score for the Bears, but he was actually out-performed by fellow freshman Chris Harper in his first season. However, Dykes clearly has Treggs pegged to break out in 2012, as he brought the sophomore to 2013 Pac-12 media day.