Bleacher Report's Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Team
The Pac-12 was a pleasant surprise last season when eight teams were declared bowl eligible and there was more parity. There were a lot of elite players on both sides of the ball that could make a difference and help teams turn the corner.
Players such as Marqise Lee, Will Sutton and Anthony Barr are not only elite Pac-12 players, but they could hold their own in any other conference as well. They also have a future at the next level once their college careers are over with.
You will hear some of these guys' names mentioned numerous times throughout the season, and don't be surprised if they are nominated for a few individual awards. One of the achievements all Pac-12 players strive to reach is first-team or second-team all-conference.
We are officially less than 100 days away from the season kicking off, so here is Bleacher Report's preseason All-Pac-12 team.
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Marcus Mariota, Oregon
It is hard to argue with the job Marcus Mariota did at quarterback last season for the Ducks as a freshman. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,677 yards and rushed for an extra 752 yards. He made all the right decisions and would have likely been considered a Heisman candidate if it wasn't for some guy named Johnny Manziel.
Mariota has established himself as an elite Pac-12 quarterback and will have no problem receiving first-team honors if he can repeat last year's efforts without head coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines.
Brett Hundley, UCLA
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Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
Ka’Deem Carey earned first-team honors last season and had a season for the ages that didn't receive as much respect as it deserved. He led the country with 1,929 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He also averaged 6.37 yards a carry, which was good for fourth-best in the Pac-12.
Carey is in a great position playing for a head coach in Rich Rodriguez who loves to run the football. He is already shattering the record books and will continue to do so in this high-flying offense.
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
You have to find a spot for Thomas on this list. Whether he is playing wide receiver or running back, he is simply way too explosive not be considered for first-team honors. Thomas is arguably the fastest player in college football and a true threat to score anytime the ball is in his hands. He does a little bit of everything for Oregon from lining up everywhere on offense to being a factor on special teams.
The Black Mamba is expected to receive a heavier workload in the backfield this season. He will likely have his best season yet in Eugene.
Storm Woods, Oregon State
Bishop Sankey, Washington
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Marqise Lee, USC
Lee was a unanimous All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award last year for being the best receiver in the country. He had the most receptions with 118, finished second with 1,721 receiving yards and hauled in 14 touchdowns. He's easily the best receiver college football has to offer and there may not be a single defender who can slow this guy down.
Barring injury, Lee is a lock to be named first-team Pac-12.
Kasen Williams, Washington
Williams put in work last season as a sophomore, hauling in 77 receptions for 878 yards and six touchdowns. Despite playing on a mediocre team that had a horrible offensive line, Williams still finished 10 games with at least five receptions.
Assuming the offensive line has improved and quarterback Keith Price is ready to return to form, those numbers from last year could easily be topped. Williams slides up to first-team status due to Austin Hill tearing his ACL.
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Josh Huff, Oregon
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Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is one of the most underrated players in all of college football. He's caught 110 passes his first two seasons, 13 of which went for touchdowns. His size at 6'6" and ordinary athleticism makes him a nightmare cover for opposing defenses. Seferian-Jenkins will continue to receive more NFL hype with him entering his junior year.
The Washington tight end still remains suspended from the team due to an offseason arrest, but don't expect him to miss much playing time. Even a couple of potential sit outs won't stop him from putting up the numbers it takes to earn this honor.
Chris Coyle, Arizona State
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David Yankey, Stanford
Yankey is one of many great linemen to come out of Stanford in recent years. He was a consensus All-American last year and first-team Pac-12, while also winning the Morris Trophy as the best Pac-12 offensive lineman. He is capable of playing either guard or tackle and is another Cardinal player who will continue to climb up NFL draft boards.
Evan Finkenberg, Arizona State
Evan Finkenberg is the anchor to this Arizona State offensive line. He is now entering his fourth straight season of being a starter and has proven to be a durable lineman who is effective against both the run and pass. He has started 34 games in his career and has gone up against elite pass-rushers such as JJ Watt, Dion Jordan and Star Lotulelei.
Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
Grasu has been the starting center for the Ducks since 2011 and has made a name for himself ever since. He made the all-freshman second-team in 2011 and was named first-team Pac-12 last year. Grasu has terrific feet and is quick off the ball, which allows him to be super effective in the Oregon up-tempo offense. He was also mentioned on the 2013 Rimington Trophy Watch List.
Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
Su’a-Filo took a couple of years off after going on a Mormon mission in Florida and South Alabama. He came back last season and started every game at left guard, earning first-team Pac-12 honors under a new head coach. Not too shabby for somebody who was out of football for a while. Su’a-Filo has a great combination of size and strength and will continue to be that driving force in the running game for the Bruins.
Jake Fisher, Oregon
Jake Fisher is one of the few offensive linemen who was able to see playing time as a true freshman. Last year he started every game at right tackle and has become quite popular on the team in two short seasons. Fisher is physical at the point of attack, but he is more known for his athleticism and ability to get to the second level in a hurry. He will continue to become a household name as the season progresses.
Cameron Fleming, Stanford
John Fullington, Washington State
Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
Max Tuerk, USC
Grant Enger, Oregon State
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Will Sutton, Arizona State
Few defensive linemen had a better season last year than Will Sutton. The Arizona State defender finished last season with 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He earned All-American honors, was a first-team Pac-12 selection and was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Sutton could have bolted for the NFL, but will be around to harass quarterbacks for one more season.
Morgan Breslin, USC
Breslin was a JUCO transfer who didn't miss a beat in his first year at the big boy level. He finished tied for first in the Pac-12 with 13 sacks and finished sixth on the team with 62 tackles. Breslin is a relentless pass-rusher who plays the game with a high motor and should only be getting better with a full season now under his belt.
Scott Crichton, Oregon State
Crichton always had the athleticism and explosion off the ball, but he seems to be taking his game to another level with the more weight he adds on. The Oregon State defensive end was a big reason why that defense was so good last year, as he racked up nine sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. Crichton already ranks seventh in school history with 15 sacks in his career.
Taylor Hart, Oregon
Oregon lost a key guy in Dion Jordan, which means others must step up if the Ducks pass rush is going to remain respectable. Hart has the ability to keep things intact with this being his fourth season in Eugene. He finished with eight sacks last season and has 12.5 in his career. Hart is quick for a defensive tackle and could be in for his best season yet.
Deandre Coleman, Cal
Ben Gardner, Stanford
Cassius Marsh, UCLA
Leonard Williams, USC
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Anthony Barr, UCLA
Barr made the switch to defense last season, and it paid off in a big way for the UCLA defense. He finished second in the country with 13 sacks and was named first-team All-Pac 12. Barr was an extremely bright future at the next level and already has his head coach saying he wouldn't trade him for Jadeveon Clowney any day of the week.
Shayne Skov, Stanford
There are few linebackers in the country more consistent that Shayne Skov. The problem is that he has had his fair share of injury issues. Even though he finished last season with 80 tackles and 2.5 sacks, Skov lacked the explosion you usually see from him. Expecting Skov to now be fully recovered from a knee injury he suffered in 2011, he will solidify himself as one of the top players at his position.
Hayes Pullard, USC
Pullard has only played for two seasons and already has 188 tackles in 25 starts. He finished last season with 107, eight of which produced a loss, and he intercepted a pass that he returned for a touchdown. Pullard is a playmaker at linebacker and flies all over the field to make plays. One of the more consistent players at his position, the USC linebacker is poised for another breakout season.
Trent Murphy, Stanford
Jake Fischer, Arizona
Josh Shirley, Washington
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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
There are few cornerbacks that have the potential to become shutdown defenders. Ekpre-Olomu is one who has that ability. He led the Pac-12 last season with 20 passes defended, while finishing second on the team with four interceptions. The junior corner is a true playmaker and will receive a ton of NFL draft buzz once the season begins.
Ed Reynolds, Stanford
Reynolds has become a leader on and off the field, and he is also playing at a high level. Reynolds finished last season with six interceptions and 47 tackles in his first real season as a starting safety. He has built the reputation of being a ball hawk and a playmaker, as three of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
Deone Bucannon, Washington State
Bucannon has been a starter for Washington State since his freshman days in 2010. Every season he appears to take his game to another level. Last year he led the team with 106 tackles, while also intercepting four passes and forcing a fumble. Bucannon is one of the few bright spots on the Washington State defense.
Alex Carter, Stanford
Carter was a true freshman last season who started the last seven games of the season. He led the team with three forced fumbles, but added 46 tackles and three tackles for loss. Carter will quickly develop into a solid defensive player for Stanford, as he has that feisty attitude and ability to make game-changing plays.
Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State
Alden Darby, Arizona State
Jordan Richards, Stanford
Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
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K Andre Heidari, USC
Heidari struggled last year making only 10 of his 16 field-goal attempts. Still, he is 25 of 33 in his career and has one of the stronger legs in the country. He has also made 89 of his 91 extra point attempts. The junior kicker should be able to get back on track and become one of the premier kickers in college football.
P Darragh O’Neill, Colorado
Darragh O’Neill is one of the best punters there is, as he finished second in the Pac-12 last season averaging 43.51 yards an attempt, which was also good for 21st in the country. O'Neill punted the ball 76 times last year, so he gets a lot of practice, but his consistency is off the charts, and he remains a valuable weapon for Colorado.
KR/PR Jaydon Mickens, Washington
Mickens is not only expected to see a larger role in the offense, but he should emerge as one of the top return men in the country. Last season he averaged 21.47 yards on 19 kickoff returns. Mickens sees the field well and is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Don't be surprised if he scores a couple of times on special teams this year.
K Andrew Furney, Washington State
P Keith Kostol, Oregon State
KR/PR Marques Mosley, Colorado