Here’s a look at five players who stood out in the Pac-12 this spring. Chances are we’ll be hearing their names in the fall.
Sunia Tauteoli, LB, Utah: As Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said last week, the team’s 4-3 base defense is “ancient," so much so that they now identify as a “multiple” defense. Whatever they call it, they still need linebackers after losing their three starters from last season. Tauteoli looks to have emerged from spring as the No. 1 linebacker among the group. The Utes still need depth, but establishing a clear No. 1 was a spring priority.
Malik Dorton, DT, USC: The converted outside linebacker, who appeared in two games last season and had one tackle in each, will likely be quickly called into service as the Trojans look to rebuild the entire defensive line. “They’ve got to be ready now,” Clay Helton told ESPN.com last week. “We’re going to have to play above our heads at that position.” Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast told ESPN's Kyle Bonagura that of all the defensive linemen, Dorton had the strongest spring.
Trenton Irwin, WR, Stanford: The sophomore made a few cameos last season, appearing in 14 games and catching 12 balls for 150 yards. He had a productive spring. While he didn’t necessarily “wow” anyone, let’s be fair; it’s tough to be a “wow” guy on a team with Christian McCaffrey. He’s likely worked his way into the regular rotation and could emerge as the guy who fills Devon Cajuste’s role.
Melquise Stovall, WR, California: The jewel of Cal’s recruiting class, the early enrollee didn’t disappoint in his first spring. Stovall's performance reached a crescendo in the spring game, as he hauled in seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He’s only 5-foot-9, but coaches and teammates have been raving about his elusiveness and high-end speed. As quarterback Chase Forrest said about Stovall’s spring: “He’s been killing it.”
Koron Crump, DL, Arizona State: He’s technically listed along the defensive line, but Crump is likely more of a pass-rushing “spur” linebacker for the Sun Devils. He had a strong spring, showing off the explosion and first-step quickness that made him a desirable recruit out of Fort Scott Community College. With Viliami Moeakiola (who missed spring with an injury) likely moving to safety, reps could open up for Crump.