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Pac-12 College Football
CFB

Pac-12 Standouts: 6 Players Dominating College Football

  • Ryan Fowler
  • September 29, 2022
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Now four weeks into the college football campaign, enough of a sample size has been provided as to who’s stood out amongst the rest. In this mini-series, I’ll be diving into six standouts (three on offense,  three on defense) for each of the Power Five conferences a month into the regular season. Next up, it’s all about the Pac-12.

OFFENSE

Michael Penix Jr. QB, Washington

While his limited success at Indiana mostly saw him stand tall and deliver within the tackle box, Penix Jr. has improved his dual-threat ability when provided the opportunity to work on RPOs and designed bootlegs—which has widened the frame on the type of talent he could become down the line. In a Huskies offense littered with high-end talent, Penix Jr. has an array of weapons at his disposal each and every week. From former Texas Tech transfer Ja’Lynn Polk to sophomores Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, it’s a group to build upon moving forward if Penix Jr. were to return for his senior season. His arrival has provided a breath of fresh air into the Washington program.

Jaydn Ott RB, Cal

Just a few months removed from high school, Ott has looked the part of a potential name to know for the 2025 NFL Draft. We’re always looking ahead here at TDN, and Ott looks to check a ton of boxes as a ball carrier to become familiar with in the Pac-12. He has people at Berkley reminiscing of days with Jahvid Best, high praise for the 6-foot, 205-pound athlete that leads the conference in rushing yards (463) on 8.3 yards a carry. 

Jordan Addison WR, USC

One of the headliners of what is expected to be a deep wide receiver talent pool come draft weekend, Addison has been the lone prospect to actually live up to hype this fall. USC’s leader in every major receiving category, he’s looked all the part of a day-one talent. A fluid separator that has no issue in competing within the tight areas of the defense, the Trojans’ offense flows through his ability to create space for both himself and others. 

DEFENSE

Mekhi Blackmon CB, USC

A fifth-year senior, Blackmon has been excellent on the outside. When teams test him through the air, his length allows him to disrupt timing. In the run game, he’s a physical downhill athlete that erases the notion that corners can’t tackle. He’s always near the football and his experience has showcased well early on in the Pac-12. 

Devin Kirkwood CB, UCLA

A four-star prep talent, Kirkwood has begun to open eyes in the Pac-12 as a 6-foot-3 corner with ball skills. He’s been tested early and often following minimal snaps in his freshman season, but he’s done well to limit opportunities for opposing pass-catchers. A glider in space whose strides eat up grass if he falls out of phase, more snaps will continue to see him blossom as a man corner on the perimeter.

Christian Gonzalez CB, Oregon

The Ducks have a ton of names to become familiar with during the draft process, but the Colorado transfer in Gonzalez may be the crown jewel. He’s a first-off-the-bus type of athlete and a corner who is not afraid to mix it up within the contact window both in the slot and on the outside. His game highlights someone that has a hunger for competition, and his ability to travel around the formation against teams’ opposing WR1s will translate to the next level as a potential day-one pick. He’s been tested very few times so far this year and deservedly so.

A note to make for the Ducks, 6-foot-3 wideout Troy Franklin has been outstanding on the outside as a rangy pass-catcher. He’s been QB Bo Nix’s top target during the first month of the campaign.

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Ryan Fowler