Power Ranking the 2013 Newcomers Who Will Have Biggest Impact on Pac-12 Race
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The Pac-12 is full of incoming players and coaches who will have a huge impact in the race for the conference title in 2013.
There's Mark Helfrich, Chip Kelly's replacement at Oregon who will be expected to replicate his predecessor's success.
Then there are players like Junior Salt, a redshirt junior who is expected to bolster Utah's offensive line.
There are also freshmen like defensive back Priest Willis at UCLA, who will make an immediate impact in their first year at their new schools.
With that, here's the top five newcomers in the Pac-12 heading into the 2013 season.
5. Priest Willis, DB, UCLA
Priest Willis (white, No. 3)
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Priest Willis will make an immediate impact for the UCLA Bruins, a team that was ranked 85th in pass defense last season.
A consensus top-100 recruit last season who played in the Under Armour All-American Game, Willis is a 6'3" monster who was effective at stopping both the run and pass in high school. According to Kyle Kensing of SI.com, Willis had 107 tackles and four interceptions over the past two years.
The Bruins are trying to make some noise in the Pac-12 race in 2013, but their defense is the biggest concern. If Willis can provide a spark in the secondary, UCLA could have a breakout season.
4. Francis Owusu, WR, Stanford
Francis Owusu. Photo courtesy of 247sports.com
The biggest question mark for the Stanford Cardinal in 2013 is the passing game, led by new quarterback Kevin Hogan.
If the Cardinal are looking for a quality target for Hogan to rely on, it could very well be Owusu.
The highly-touted freshman wide receiver, whose older brother was a receiver at Stanford, will be a good deep-ball threat as Stanford looks to develop its air attack.
According to Kyle Kensing at SI.com, this 6'3" receiver averaged 18 yards per catch in high school. If he can come anywhere close to that average in college, the Cardinal may have their answer at wide out.
3. Junior Salt, OG, Utah
Junior Salt. Photo courtesy of 247sports.com
A redshirt junior who comes from the junior college ranks, Junior Salt will be a pivotal piece of Utah's offensive line in 2013.
According to Utah's official bio on Salt, the lineman was originally pegged as a defensive tackle. But now, he's set to start at right guard in 2013.
Standing at 6'2" and 325 pounds, Salt is certainly a dominating physical presence who will provide quality protection in the trenches.
Ted Miller of ESPN says that Salt could be a huge fix for Utah, which has problems on both of its lines. Head coach Kyle Whittingham said, according to Miller, that Salt makes Star Lotulelei, a defensive tackle with five sacks last year, look small.
2. Thomas Tyner, RB, Oregon
Thomas Tyner. Photo courtesy of 247sports.com
This freshman running back, one of the most highly sought after recruits of the 2013 class, will make an immediate impact in Oregon's running game.
The door for Tyner to make an impact is open due to Kenjon Barner's departure. With Oregon relying on it's legendary, fast-paced offense so heavily, Tyner's performance could make or break Mark Helfrich's first season in Eugene.
He's a product of Aloha High School in Beaverton, Ore., where Kyle Kensing of SI.com reports that he ran for over 2,300 yards last season.
Tyner made headlines last season when he scored 10 touchdowns and rushed for 643 yards in a single game.
While he likely won't be asked to score 10 touchdowns a game at Oregon, if he produces the same flashy results he did in high school, he'll find an immediate home with the Ducks.
Mark Helfrich, Head Coach, Oregon
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With Chip Kelly's departure to the NFL and new NCAA sanctions levied against the program, Mark Helfrich's first season as the head coach at Oregon is sure to be a wild one.
The team's offensive coordinator since 2009, Helfrich played a huge role in developing the prolific offensive scheme that has kept Oregon so dominant in recent years. It's also the main reason that he got the gig in Eugene.
But as is true with many new coaches, his performance will be heavily scrutinized as he tries to emulate the success of his predecessor.
Helfrich has plenty of talent to stay competitive in the Pac-12, particularly with quarterback Marcus Mariota. So it's certainly in the cards for the new coach to have a good start in his new job.
The Ducks will still have one of the best offenses in the country, and Helfrich will maintain Oregon's status as a contender not just in the Pac-12, but on the national stage.