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Conference Preview: Pac 12 (North)

CFB is back and @tristancook_ is here to give you a preview of the players to know for the upcoming season in the Pac 12 North!

OVERVIEW

The goal of this article is to provide a brief preview of some of the top devy relevant players in the Pac 12 North. It isn’t going to be a fully comprehensive list, but should hopefully give you some names to know for the upcoming season. I wrote a similar article about the Pac 12 South, and there are articles written about the other major conferences.

It should be known that due to COVID-19, the NCAA approved a waiver for athletes to retain a year of eligibility. Essentially what it means is that no one used up a year of eligibility in 2020. However, players that were 3 years post-high school were still able to declare for the NFL draft if they wanted. So, what all this means for 2021 is that some places list a particular prospect differently than others. I have tried to use what the school’s official website listed for each player. But, there still is some uncertainty for how some players will be listed. Anyway, let’s get to the list.

Washington

Cade Otton – TE – RS Senior (6’5, 250)

Nov 28, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies tight end Cade Otton (87) reacts after catching a touchdown pass against the Utah Utes during the fourth quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.
Credit: Joe Nicholson | USA TODAY Sports

The first player for Washington to note is TE Cade Otton. Despite the Huskies only playing 4 games last year, Otton put up strong receiving numbers that would have easily shattered his career highs. At 6’5 and 250 lbs, he is a mismatch nightmare and should see plenty of targets this season. Otton certainly has the frame and has shown the receiving prowess to move to the next level. 

Sam Huard – QB – Freshman (6’2, 190)

The other player of note for the Huskies may not actually see a lot of playing time this year. For now, Dylan Morris is the signal caller for Washington. That means that we will have to wait at least a bit to see Sam Huard take the field. He was a 5-star recruit and the 12th overall player in the 2021 recruiting class. Huard’s signing even made another top QB recruit, Ethan Garbers, transfer to UCLA. I’m excited to see Huard, I’m just not exactly sure when that will be.

Oregon

Seven McGee – RB – Freshman (5’9, 185)

There are a few intriguing prospects on the Ducks roster, but the first one I will note here is 4-star freshman Seven McGee. First off, he’s in the top tier as far as names go. All I can think of is hearing an announcer say “and there goes Seven for six” which is an amazing call. But, he’s also quite the talented prospect. McGee is a smaller back, but is extremely explosive with the ball in his hands. He is also great at catching passes, so I expect to see him used all over the field for this Oregon team. 

CJ Verdell – RB – Junior (5’10, 210)

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 06: Running back CJ Verdell #7 of the Oregon Ducks carries the ball against the Utah Utes during the second half of the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium on December 06, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.
Credit: Thearon W. Henderson | Getty Images

The next guy for Oregon seems like he’s been there forever. CJ Verdell has been an extremely productive back for the Ducks putting up over 1000 yards rushing in his first two seasons in Eugene. He demonstrated that he is an effective all-around back with solid receiving numbers as well. 2020 started off well for Verdell, but injuries slowed him down and ultimately ended his season early. He chose to return for another season, and I expect him to return to the 2019 form and run wild. 

Mycah Pittman – WR – Sophomore (5’11, 200)

The final player I will note here is WR Mycah Pittman. There are a few other guys I could note like QB Ty Thompson and WR Troy Franklin (both 4-star freshman). But, instead I will mention Pittman who has seen his stock drop a bit. In two years in Eugene, Pittman has only put up 26 catches for 350 yards and 2 TDs. Not exactly the numbers you’d hope to see from a top-100 recruit. He needs to have a big year this year, andI expect him to do exactly that. Mycah is the brother of Colts WR Michael Jr., and son of former Bucs RB Michael Sr., so we know he has quite an impressive athletic pedigree. 

Stanford

EJ Smith – RB – Freshman (6’0, 208)

Credit: gostanford.com

The main player I am excited about for Stanford is the son of another former NFL RB. EJ Smith didn’t do very much in the 2020 season, only catching 3 passes for 7 yards, but the former 4-star recruit could be in line for a much bigger role in 2021. We know what his father Emmitt could do with the ball, and that obviously doesn’t mean EJ will be anywhere near as good, but I am still quite excited to see him get some more work in 2021. EJ has great size and could be a monster behind what typically is a good offensive line in a run-first offense. 

Oregon State

The Oregon State Beavers do not have anyone to note at this time.

California

J.Michael Sturdivant – Freshman (6’4, 185)

The main player of note for Cal is 4-star freshman WR J.Michael Sturdivant. He was the Golden Bears highest ranked recruit in their 2021 class and is the highest ranked player since Demetris Robertson in 2016. I am hopeful that Cal will utilize Studivant early and often. At 6’4, he presents a massive target for Chase Garbers. This team needs playmakers, and Studivant could fill that role nicely.

Washington State

Max Borghi – Senior (5’10, 205)

Washington State running back Max Borghi, left, runs while under pressure from Colorado safety Mikial Onu during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.
Credit: Young Kwak | AP Photo

The final player to note in the Pac 12 North is senior RB Max Borghi. Borghi was an incredibly hyped up player heading into 2020. He even garnered several Christian McCaffrey comps, but the departure of Mike Leach and nagging injuries really changed his trajectory. I was never a fan of the CMC comps for Borghi, but it’s easy to see how his 86 catches in 2019 could lead people to hope for that type of ceiling for him. Borghi decided to return to Pullman for 2021 after only playing in one game in 2020. So, I am excited to see if he can regain some of that 2019 form this year.

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