The summer/fall camps in college football have not opened yet and there are many changes to come before opening day. Still, the better players in the Pac-12 Conference are rather obvious and as always, the player that handles the ball the most – quarterback – will be key to any teams chances.
As far as quarterbacks are concerned, although there are some excellent quarterbacks in the league, there aren’t a lot of established signal callers. Up-and-coming freshmen from last year popped up on the radar screen so new faces are always a possibility again in 2013.
Interestingly, there is only one senior on this list. However, presently there are without a doubt plenty of quality QBs to choose from that should be leaders on their teams and in the league. And for sure, the quality of these six choices has everything to do with being multidimensional and not just pure pocket quarterbacks. Here they are listed alphabetically.
Source: Pac-12 Conference
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USC Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler no longer forgotten man
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Brett Hundley – UCLA Bruins
The 6’3” 227 pound redshirt sophomore may be the most athletic of this bunch. Hundley set school records for several categories including single-season passing yardage and yet is a dual-threat quarterback, capable of running for big yardage as was evident in his very first play of his career where he ran 72 yards for a touchdown. His talents helped bring the Bruins back to respectability and now they are a legitimate contender for the South Division and possible Pac-12 Conference championship. Hundley is smart, studios with a bazooka for an arm and level-headed enough to make himself a Heisman Trophy contender.
Taylor Kelly – Arizona State Sun Devils
A fourth-year junior, Kelly was a standout for the improving Sun Devils in 2012. Kelly is 6’2” 203 pounds and definitely is a dual-threat quarterback. He won’t jump out at you on the screen but he’s one of the guys that does the little things … and does them well. He’s a take command person and when he’s on, Taylor Kelly is one of the best in the country. He likes drag racing and if he can focus on limiting mistakes, which drag racing makes you do; Kelly and Arizona State will be a force to be reckoned with in 2013.
Cody Kessler – USC Trojans
How many five-star quarterbacks sit on the bench as third string, after two years at their school of choice? Yet, the 6’1” 215 pound redshirt sophomore has patiently waited for his chance. Kessler’s competition is stiff to even be the starting quarterback for the Trojans but after a great spring practice, he appears the front-runner. Cody Kessler is a take-charge kind of guy and though he doesn’t have all the physical attributes his competition has, he’s quick with escapability along with being quite capable athletically. Cody brings intangibles and an ability to make plays in or out of the pocket. You may not have heard of him before but you will after this season.
Marcus Mariota – Oregon Ducks
The 6’4” 211 pound redshirt sophomore emerged last season from relative obscurity to become a star. The team lost their head coach to the NFL so adjustments will be needed but Mariota – though still learning the offense – is probably on the verge of being a Heisman Trophy contender. Similar in style to 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, Marcus Mariota who is distinctly a dual-threat QB like ‘Johnny Football’, is with a Duck team that may contend for the national championship (see related articles). That alone may catapult Mariota to front-runner and superstar status this year.
Keith Price – Washington Huskies
The 6’1” 202 pounder is the only senior (fifth-year) among the top QBs in the Pac-12. Always considered a potential star player for the Huskies, Price has not quite lived up to expectations even though he has started since he was a redshirt freshman. He had a good sophomore season but last year had to be frustrating for fans, coaches and players alike. Not all the issues that befell Price were of his doing. The offensive line was shaky and injuries didn’t help. The talent is there but if the Huskies (see related articles) are to contend in the North Division and move to the next level, Price will need to step up and be at the center of the action.
Travis Wilson – Utah Utes
The big sophomore listed at 6’6” 240 pounds, will be leaned on a lot by his Ute team in 2013. A big play quarterback, who can move around well for a big man, had a good spring and could be the breakout QB this season for the Pac-12. He does have competition for the job but his ability to make plays puts him ahead. Utah hasn’t had that good a time so far in its two seasons (12 losses) in the Pac-12 and Wilson just may be the guy to lead them back to their glory years.