We continue our countdown of the top 25 players in the Pac-12 heading into the 2015 season.
If you're feeling nostalgic, here is how last year's preseason list looked. We'll continue to count things down, five players a day, until the series concludes Friday with Nos. 1-5.
11. Adoree’ Jackson, CB/WR/RET, USC
At this point the question isn’t what Jackson can do for USC; it’d be better put as, what can’t he do? At Pac-12 media days Steve Sarkisian said Jackson was one of -- if not the best -- athlete he had ever been around. “How are we going to use him? The best way we can without killing the poor kid as the season goes on,” Sarkisian said. Last year, Jackson caught 10 passes for three touchdowns and 138 receiving yards, returned 23 kicks (two for TDs) and was the team’s eighth-leading tackler with 49 tackles. Expect him to do even more in 2015.
12. Max Tuerk, C, USC
Tuerk might be the most versatile offensive lineman in the conference. He has started at center (13 games), guard (14 games) and tackle (six games) for the Trojans during his career. He was on ESPN.com’s All-Pac-12 first team last year and he finds himself as the most highly rated offensive lineman in our preseason list in 2015. Tuerk will be surrounded by talented offensive linemen -- the returners combine for 99 total starts -- so expect the USC O-line to be a force in the Pac-12.
13. Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado
Spruce led the Pac-12 in 2014 with 106 receptions (tied with Washington State’s Vince Mayle) and there’s only one other receiver in the country coming back in 2015 who recorded more catches in 2014. He’s the Buff’s best receiving threat and he’ll be catching passes from a much-improved Sefo Liufau, who has made major strides this offseason according to Mike MacIntyre (“I think after this year's over, everybody will say he's one of the best junior quarterbacks in America,” MacIntyre said). Expect the Spruce to be loose this season.
14. Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
Murphy started 13 games at right tackle for the Cardinal in 2014 and in 2015 he’ll be at left tackle, protecting Kevin Hogan's blindside and stepping into the big shoes left by Andrus Peat. But Murphy should have no problem filling them and leading an offensive line that will be a Stanford strength.
15. Cayleb Jones, WR, Arizona
Jones is primed for a breakout season in 2015. A season ago he averaged 73 receiving yards a game but that number could rise as defenses try to handle Arizona’s many offensive threats and weigh the pros and cons of trying to bring more guys into the box to stop the run. If that happens, Jones is Anu Solomon's go-to guy. With another offseason to build chemistry, expect Solomon to look to Jones more and more and for Jones’ plays to be even more explosive.