Hamilcar Rashed Jr. returns to Oregon State and looks to wreak havoc in the backfield once again.
Photo: Andy Cripe, Mid-Valley Media
1. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. - Oregon State
Hamilcar Rashed Jr. elevated his game to unexpected levels in 2019 and proved unblockable while terrorizing quarterbacks all season. By the end of the year, Rashed Jr. had racked up 22.5 TFL and 14 sacks. The Oregon State star has made it on practically every 2020 pre-season All-American list after deciding to return for his senior season.
2. Joe Tryon - Washington
Joe Tryon has gained 1st round hype entering 2020 after dominating the 2nd half of the 2019 season. The talented pass rusher boasts an ideal NFL body type while standing at an imposing 6-5 262. Tryon earned 2nd Team All-Pac-12 last season after finishing with 12.5 TFL and 8 sacks.
3. Drake Jackson - USC
Jackson put together a stellar Freshman season at Defensive End for the Trojans with 11.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks. This season, the Trojans will experiment with playing Jackson at OLB and are hoping to give him even more opportunities to attack the quarterback. Jackson measures in at 6-4 255 after slimming down recently which should result in a boost in quickness.
4. Ryan Bowman - Washington
Bowman came to Washington as a walk-on but quickly proved his worth with 8.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks as a Freshman in 2017. The 6-0 280 OLB was a 2nd Team All-Pac-12 selection last season and will look to put together a dominant senior year.
5. Cameron Goode - Cal
Cameron Goode flew under the radar last season with the spotlight focusing on star linebacker Evan Weaver. Now with Weaver off to the NFL, Goode will have plenty of opportunities to garner deserved attention and will help lead what should be another very good Cal defense. Last season, the 6-3 235 LB registered 14 TFL and 9.5 TFL.
6. Devin Lloyd - Utah
Lloyd may not be a household name yet but it may surprise you to know that he led a dominant Utah defense in tackles last season with 91 while also totaling 11 TFL and 6 sacks. The Utah rover linebacker is extremely quick and versatile. Lloyd can run with wide receivers and also has the size to stop the run with an imposing 6-3 235 figure. Not many Pac-12 players feature the physical tools that Lloyd has and don't be surprised if he dominates the NFL Combine next year.
7. Jahad Woods - WSU
Jahad Woods has been a tackling machine for the Cougs over the past 3 years with 287 career tackles, 25.5 TFL and 8.5 sacks. The Cougar linebacker is back for his senior season and while he doesn't have elite size at 6-1 228, he makes up for it with great instincts and speed.
8. Mase Funa - Oregon
Mase Funa came to Oregon as the 68th ranked recruit nationally and quickly proved the hype was justified with an elite freshman season that resulted in 8.5 TFL and 4 sacks. Funa was a PFF 3rd Team All-Pac-12 selection in 2019 and should continue to develop into one of the Pac-12's best defensive players this season.
9. Merlin Robertson - ASU
Robertson was named the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 after an outstanding rookie campaign that resulted in 77 tackles, 8.5 TFL and 5 sacks. Big things were expected for the linebacker in 2019 and while he performed well, he didn't quite live up to the standards he had set for himself the previous season. This season, Robertson will set out to prove he is an All-Conference level player and with his physical gifts he should have the chance to be a high NFL Draft pick with a big season.
10. Gabe Reid - Stanford
Reid started the final 7 games for Stanford and finished with 43 tackles and 9 TFL. The 6-2 236 linebacker will look to take the next step this season and become a consistent force for the Cardinal.