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Athlon has Troy Williams Last Among Pac-12 Starting Quarterbacks

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Athlon's Steve Lassan ranked the Pac-12 quarterbacks, and he had Utah's presumptive starter Troy Williams at No. 12. Here is what Lassan had to say about Williams in the same article:

"Williams is back in the Pac-12 after one standout season at Santa Monica College. The California native originally signed with Washington out of high school and spent two years with the Huskies. In 2014, Williams played in five games at Washington and threw for 176 passing yards on 23 completions. After transferring to Santa Monica College in search of more playing time, Williams torched opposing defenses for 2,750 yards and 31 scores in 2015. Williams ranked as a four-star junior college prospect by the 247Sports Composite but missed part of spring practice due to a sore arm."

Here is a breakdown of Lassan's ranking from top to bottom.

Rank Quarterback Team
1 Josh Rosen UCLA
2 Luke Falk WSU
3 Jake Browning Washington
4 Davis Webb Cal
5 Dakota Prukop Oregon
6 Anu Solomon Arizona
7 Max Browne USC
8 Sefo Liufau Colorado
9 Keller Chryst Stanford
10 Darell Garretson Oregon State
11 Manny WIlkins Arizona State
12 Troy Williams Utah

With so many Pac-12 teams breaking in new quarterbacks (only Arizona, Colorado, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, and Washington State return their starting quarterback, but Oregon State's 2015 starter Seth Collins is likely to switch positions with Utah State transfer Darell Garretson taking the starting job). With so many new faces, it is difficult to rank the bottom half of the Pac-12 quarterbacks, especially with many of them having little to no experience at the FBS level.

I agree with Lassan that Rosen, Falk, and Browning are the top three quarterbacks in the conference heading into the season. I think he has both Webb and Prukop too high. Webb put up good numbers in the Big XII, but he will face better defenses in the Pac-12. His quarterback rating in 2013 would have ranked him eighth in the Pac-12 and tenth in 2014, just ahead of Utah's Travis Wilson in both seasons. Wilson was never seen as a top tier Pac-12 quarterback, and I question whether Webb will be. Prukop, who transferred to Oregon from FCS Montana State, is looking to find the same success at Oregon that fellow FCS transfer Vernon Adams Jr. had last season. Prukop however did not receive rave reviews this spring, and it remains to be seen how he fairs against FBS teams on a week-to-week basis. Personally, I would have Solomon at No. 4. Heading into the season, I would have Webb fifth because he has a proven track record, but I would not be surprised to see him finish in the bottom half of the conference in pass efficiency by the end of the season. Of all of the unproven starters, I would have Browne at the top since he was a former five-star recruit and high school player of the year. I would bump up Chryst a bit because Stanford gets a little benefit of the doubt from me, and he has players like Christian McCaffrey to take the pressure off of him. I would put Williams at No. 9. Utah has struggled throwing the ball since joining the Pac-12, but I believe with Guy Holliday's addition as wide receiver coach and a lot of talent (though unproven) and wide receiver and tight end, this could be the year Utah improves in the Pac-12 passing standings. It is also worth noting that Utah has never finished 12th in the Pac-12 in pass efficiency. While Liufau has shown flashes of potential in his career at Colorado, he loses Nelson Spruce, who recorded two 1,000 yard receiving seasons, and he is coming off a Lisfranc injury, so it remains to be seen how healthy he is. The reason I gave Williams the edge over Wilkins is neither is really proven at the FBS level, but Williams has more college game experience and was rated higher coming out of high school (247Sports Composite No. 101 for Williams and No. 286 for Wilkins). Garretson played well in his limited time at Utah State, but he steps into the toughest situation of any new quarterback. He has to try to help OSU right the ship and win at least one Pac-12 game in 2016. He will experience a huge increase in competition over what he saw at Utah State in the Mountain West.

Below is how I would rank the quarterbacks heading into the 2016 season

Rank Quarterback Team
1 Josh Rosen UCLA
2 Luke Falk WSU
3 Jake Browning Washington
4 Anu Solomon Arizona
5 Davis Webb Cal
6 Max Browne USC
7 Dakota Prukop Oregon
8 Keller Chryst Stanford
9 Troy Williams Utah
10 Sefo Liufau Colorado
11 Manny WIlkins Arizona State
12 Darell Garretson Oregon State