Pac-12 position group reviews: North receivers

Over the next few weeks we'll be breaking down each position group heading into spring ball. Today, we look at the North's receivers.


Washington State: It will be surprising if the Cougars don't lead the nation in passing again next fall. While the loss of Dom Williams is legit, Washington State basically welcomes back everyone else, including QB Luke Falk and first-team All-Pac-12 receiver Gabe Marks, who surprised some when he opted to return for his senior season. He caught 104 passes for 1,192 yards with 15 touchdowns in 2015. River Cracraft (53 receptions, 615 yards) then leads a crew of eight that caught at least 20 passes last year.

Oregon: While Oregon loses Bralon Addison and Byron Marshall, the Ducks continue to be talented and deep at receiver. Junior Darren Carrington came back from a suspension to earn second-team All-Pac-12 honors, ranking second on the team with 32 receptions for 609 yards -- a stout 19 yards per reception -- and six touchdowns. Senior Dwayne Stanford caught 30 passes for 463 yards -- 15.4 yards per catch -- and five scores. Speedster Devon Allen was not himself much of the year as he came back from a major knee injury, but he should return to form as a junior. Don't forget two-way star Charles Nelson, who could bolster this unit. There's also a strong crew of young players who will be in the mix. If tight end Pharaoh Brown returns from a serious leg injury to battle with Evan Baylis and Johnny Mundt for touches, the Ducks will be among the deepest crews of pass catchers in the country.


Stanford: The Cardinal are a bit different here because their leading receiver in 2015 was do-everything running back Christian McCaffrey and he is most decidedly back. Also back is 2015's leading receiver-receiver, senior Michael Rector, an underrated player who caught 34 passes for 559 yards -- 16.4 yards per catch -- with seven touchdowns. On the downside, Nos. 3 and 4 pass catchers, big target Devon Cajuste and TE Austin Hooper, who left for the NFL draft a year early, are gone. Still, when you evaluate potential targets for a new Stanford QB, you have to include a variety of players, such as backup RB Bryce Love, and a deep crew of tight ends, because that's how the Cardinal's passing game rolls.

Oregon State: The Beavers pretty much get graded on a negative curve here. Top three receivers Victor Bolden, Jordan Villamin and Hunter Jarmon are all back. That's a good thing, particularly Bolden and Villamin, who combined for 89 receptions last year. Backups Rahmel Dockery and Xavier Hawkins also are back. But the Beavers' passing game was awful in 2015, ranking last in the conference in just about every meaningful category. While that fell mostly on poor production at QB, the 5.6 yards per attempt and measly 10 TD receptions means the WRs can't be entirely exonerated. All that said, receiver is not a position of major concern for the Beavers this spring, and this crew definitely has potential.


Washington: The Huskies are replacing their top two pass-catchers from 2015 in receiver Jaydon Mickens and tight end Joshua Perkins. Further, Washington was mediocre throwing the ball last year, though of course a lot of that falls on starting a true freshman QB in Jake Browning, who was more productive over the final third of the season. Juniors Dante Pettis and Brayden Lenius, who combined for 56 receptions in 2015, are back, as is speedy John Ross III, who missed last season with an injury, and sophomore Isaiah Renfro is promising. You could make a case that, though there's some potential here, receiver is the Huskies' biggest question heading into a 2016 season laden with optimism. (Oh, hush, Oregon fans).

California: You don't get much more "We'll see" than Cal, which loses its top six receivers from 2015: Kenny Lawler, Darius Powe, Bryce Treggs, Stephen Anderson, Trevor Davis and Maurice Harris. That almost doesn't seem possible. Oh, and the QB is gone, too, you might have heard. Junior Chad Hansen, who gained steam as the season progressed, caught 19 passes for 249 yards with a TD to lead the returning crew. Youngsters Carlos Strickland, Brandon Singleton, Raymond Hudson and Vic Wharton will need to step up in Sonny Dykes' pass-happy offense.