We’re taking a look at where each Pac-12 team stands coming out of spring ball on a position-by-position basis. We call them power rankings. You call them something to complain about. Today, we move on to wide receivers. The wide receivers are hard to grade because you’re judging apples and oranges. Not every team targets, or even plays, the same number of wide receivers. This isn’t the offensive line or quarterback position in which we can kind of look at it on the same level.
So is that kind of a cop out? Yes. Because this is a ranking that’s going to make a lot of people mad because there's always a justification for team X or team Y to be a bit higher or a bit lower if it’s viewed through a different lens.
So, here’s the ranking through one lens.
1. UCLA: Jordan Payton, Devin Fuller and Thomas Duarte -- UCLA's top three receivers from last season -- had good springs, while Eldridge Massington and Mossi Johnson (who had to sit out a bit this spring) are fighting to finally back up their four-star recruit billing. And when you have that kind of talent accompanied by surprises such as Alex Van Dyke and Jordan Lasley, then you find yourselves pretty high in these rankings.
2. USC: JuJu Smith, Steven Mitchell and Darreus Rogers all had impressive springs while Adoree' Jackson continued to make life hard for anyone debating whether he's better on offense or defense. On top of all that, juco transfer Isaac Whitney made some big strides near the end of the spring to really put himself on the radar, giving the Trojans a scary-deep wide receiver group.
3. Arizona: Between Cayleb Jones, David Richards, a finally-healthy Nate Phillips, Samajie Grant, Trey Griffey and Tyrell Johnson (not to mention Tony Ellison and RB-slot guy Jonathan Haden), Rich Rodriguez is feeling pretty solid about this group.
4. California: The wide receivers are Cal's deepest position group. Trevor Davis, Bryce Treggs, Stephen Anderson and Kenny Lawler finished the season atop Cal's depth chart. However, the big surprise was sophomore Jack Austin, who has received praise from coaches in the past but he has never quite cracked that top tier of WR talent in Berkeley. Sounds like he’s knocking on that door now.
5. Arizona State: Con: Cameron Smith is out for the season. Pro: D.J. Foster sailed through spring ball, while the returning trio of Ellis Jefferson, Frederick Gammage and Gary Chambers worked to gain better chemistry with Mike Bercovici considering the catches severely dropped off after the No. 3 receiver in 2014. Still, some of the best WR boosts for ASU came off the field, as it inked JUCO transfer Tim White and secured a commitment from UCLA grad transfer Devin Lucien.
6. Oregon: Two pros for the Ducks this spring: 1. Bralon Addison is back. 2. Charles Nelson had a bigger spring game contribution than some might've expected considering that he was billed as a DB this spring. But some questions linger: Will Darren Carrington, who had four receptions in the spring game, be eligible to play next fall? Devon Allen says he'll be back in the fall, but will he be 100 percent? In the perfect world, Oregon wants to rotate at least six guys -- can that be pieced together?
7. Washington State: The Cougars' post-spring depth chart listed Dom Williams, River Cracraft, Robert Lewis and Gabe Marks as the first-string receivers. But this group is a little harder to judge on the exact same scale as every other team in this conference. For any other school, having four receivers of this caliber would put them further up the list. However, because of the style and pace at which the Cougs play, four receivers isn’t quite enough to be as effective as Mike Leach would like them to be.
8. Colorado: Nelson Spruce had a strong spring (could've written that before the spring) as did Shay Fields and Devin Ross. Bryce Bobo is up 20 pounds from last season and is hoping to be a bigger and better target for Sefo Liufau.
9. Stanford: All signs this spring point toward much of the Stanford pass game being tight-end oriented. That fact isn't going to put the Cardinal too high on this list because there's a reason why the TEs will get more action. At wide receiver they've got Devon Cajuste and Michael Rector, who looked stronger this spring.
10. Oregon State: The Beavers lack any majorly threatening players for Pac-12 DBs. Jordan Villamin backed up his November performances. No one knew exactly what to expect once Richard Mullaney was healthy, but his post-spring break play was impressive and he pushed himself into that top-tier conversation with Villamin, Victor Bolden and Hunter Jarmon. Disclaimer: Looking good against a transitioning defense that's replacing nine starters isn't all that impressive.
11. Utah: Utah's wide receiver experience begins and ends with Kenneth Scott. So this spring was spent developing Tim Patrick, Delshawn McClellon, and Bubba Poole (who made the move over from running back). Raelon Singleton was a pleasant surprise, but the Utes still lack a few more viable weapons in the pass game.
12. Washington: The Huskies suffered a major blow in mid-April, losing John Ross III, their best returning offensive playmaker. That left just four scholarship wide receivers to play this spring (Marvin Hall, Brayden Lenius, Jaydon Mickens and Dante Pettis), leaving the Huskies at a serious deficit at wide receiver and at the bottom of this list.