Hits and misses with 2016 QB class

November 8, 2017

The Pac-12’s 2016 recruiting class of quarterbacks has already provided a major splash at a few schools.

It also resulted in a couple of misses that left teams without much depth at that position.

Oregon is an example of both.

The Ducks wrested Terry Wilson — ranked as the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by 247Sports.com — away from Nebraska with a commitment in September 2015 and one month later added Justin Herbert from Sheldon. Herbert took over as the starting quarterback last year while Wilson sat out a redshirt season before announcing he would transfer.

Wilson might have been Oregon’s starting quarterback with Herbert injured all of October, but instead is starting for Garden City Community College in Kansas.

Herbert was joined by Utah’s Tyler Huntley as 2016 recruits who began the year as starting quarterbacks in the conference.

Oregon State also could have dug into that class for a quarterback after Jake Luton was injured, but Mason Moran — the No. 18 ranked dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports — had already switched positions. After learning the offense during his redshirt season, Moran was moved to safety in the spring.

After Gary Andersen left OSU last month, Moran was moved back to offense where he is listed as the backup to Darell Garretson.

Khalil Tate was not listed among the top quarterbacks in his class out of Inglewood, Calif., because he was labeled an athlete, as likely to play receiver or defensive back as quarterback. Tate was supposed to sit out a redshirt season to learn Arizona’s offense before an injury forced the 17-year-old to become Arizona’s first true freshman to start at quarterback in 11 years.

Tate has become one of the surprise stars of college football this season and may have saved coach Rich Rodriguez’s job by running and throwing for at least 100 yards in each of the past five games while leading the Wildcats to four wins.

The Pac-12’s highest rated quarterback in 2016 was K.J. Costello, who signed with Stanford out of Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic High School after being ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect in his class by ESPN. The 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman started against Arizona State this season in place of injured Keller Chryst and then won the job from Chryst last week before throwing for 105 yards and running for a TD in a 24-21 loss at Washington State.

UCLA turned to its 2016 class twice during a 48-17 loss at Utah on Friday.

Redshirt freshman Devon Modster — the 13th-ranked pro-style QB, according to 247Sports — got the start against Utah in place of injured Josh Rosen and completed 8-of-12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown before suffering a thumb injury. He was replaced by classmate Matt Lynch, who was 2-for-3 for 11 yards and a touchdown.