On Their Way To The Pac-12 Hall Of Fame
By Scott McCourtney
With the most recent class of the Pac-12 Hall of Fame having been announced, we take a look at the returning players for the 2014 season and pick some conference leaders who may be Pac-12 Hall of Famers as well one day.
QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
The native Hawaiian quaterback has 63 career passing touchdowns, 14 rushing TDs and even one receiving touchdown. He was fourth in passing average in the Pac-12 last season with 281.9 yards per game. The Manning Award finalist and Heisman Trophy candidate finished seventh in the country in passing efficiency. A repeat first-team All-Pac 12 selection in 2012 and 2013, Mariota is the first Oregon quarterback to achieve that feat in 27 years. Mariota owns the Oregon record for most touchdowns in a season with 40 in 2013 (31 passing/nine rushing). He also broke an Oregon, and Pac-12, record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception for both a single season (285) and career (327). The 6-foot-4 junior will look to have continued success this season, proving that he is not only a future Pac-12 Hall of Famer, but a first-round pick as well.
LB Addison Gillam, Colorado
The 6-foot-3 sophomore from California had one of the most productive seasons in the Pac-12 as a freshman linebacker. Addison had 71 solo and 36 assisted tackles for 107 tackles last year, a freshman record at Colorado. He also added three sacks and one interception as a member of the Freshman All-American team and solidified himself as a team leader. Look for him to have another great season and continue to make a bid as an eventual Pac-12 Hall of Famer and maybe a first- or second-round pick.
QB Bret Hundley, UCLA
This 6-foot-3 junior standout quarterback from Arizona had back-to-back record-setting years at UCLA. He has thrown or ran for a touchdown in each of his 27 games as a Bruin. Brett has 33 career passing touchdowns with 20 rushing and one receiving. He enters 2014 ranked third among UCLA's career touchdown passing leaders, third in total offense, fourth in passing yards and third in completions all-time for the Bruins. The co-MVP of the Hyundai Sun Bowl in 2013, Hundley was awarded the Paul I. Wellman Award for All-Around Excellence. He became the first Bruin to ever throw for a touchdown, run for a touchdown and catch a touchdown against at Utah in 2013. Look for Hundley to lead UCLA to another great season. A potential Heisman finalist, he will be a Pac-12 Hall of Famer one day. If he has a solid 2014, he will go in the first round of the NFL Draft.
LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
The former Boston Red Sox minor leaguer is becoming one of the best linebackers in the nation and in the Pac-12. The 6-foot-2 junior from California was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 as a sophomore and a second-team freshman All-American. He has 152 career tackles with 78 in 2013. He has four career interceptions, returning one for 80 yards for a score in a win at Oregon State. He also has eight career sacks. There is talk of him getting reps at running back, which isn't a surprise since he was recruited by Utah as a running back out of high school. Look for him to have even better 2014 and make a big run at being a Pac-12 Hall of Famer.
QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford
The 6-foot-4 senior from Virginia has been a huge gain for Stanford. After leading the Cardinal to a Pac-12 championship in his sophomore season, where he was named team MVP, he went on to win the Rose Bowl for the Pac-12. Although Hogan did it all over again as a junior, he doesn’t have big career stats with 29 passing touchdowns, four rushing TDs and just under 4,000 passing yards. However, he has won every big game he has played in, which could be enough to get him into the Pac-12 Hall of Fame.
Other Honorable Mentions
Some toher that still have a chance at the Pac-12 Hall of Fame:
QB Taylor Kelly ASU, WR Chris Harper Cal, WR Jalen Strong ASU, RB Thomas Tyner Oregon, LB Erick Kendricks UCLA, QB Jered Goff Cal, WR Dres Anderson Utah, QB Connor Halliday WSU, and QB Sean Mannion Oregon State.