Colorado, Huskies top Jon Wilner’s first Pac-12 transfer portal power rankings

Pac-12 teams have lost more than 100 players to the transfer portal since it opened on Dec. 5. That figure will climb — and perhaps significantly — before closing time on Jan. 18.

The conference benefited immensely from the dizzying amount of player movement last winter, especially with the influx of quarterbacks.

Whether the collective impact is negative or positive this time around won’t be clear until the 2023 season, but the Hotline has no interest in reserving judgment for nine months.

Where’s the fun in that?

Welcome to our first transfer portal power ratings of the offseason. We’ll revisit the assessment below when the portal closes next month, then again when it opens (for two weeks) in early May.

1. Colorado

Like last year, the Buffaloes have lost a load of players to the portal. Unlike last year, the level of departing talent is limited. Also unlike last year, they are the conference’s biggest winner thus far. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders arrives from Jackson State to run the offense for his father, while cornerback Travis Hunter — the former No. 1 rated recruit in the country — provides CU with an elite talent on the back line. Check back in another month. The Buffaloes aren’t close to finished.

2. Washington

The momentum continues for coach Kalen DeBoer’s program with a slew of impact newcomers passing through the portal on their way to Montlake. Arizona State running back Daniyel Ngata and Michigan State receiver Germie Bernard bolster the array of playmakers around quarterback Michael Penix. Another former Sun Devil, Joe Moore, adds needed depth at edge rusher. So far, none of the Huskies’ key contributors (or backup quarterbacks) have entered the portal.

3. UCLA

The Bruins have worked the transfer market in expert fashion for years — often with players at the graduate level — and this cycle is producing more of the same. Quarterback Collin Schlee (Kent State) and linebacker Oluwafemi Oladejo (Cal) are proven commodities, and keep an eye on tight end Moliki Matavao, who averaged 13 yards per catch for Oregon. The Bruins have avoided a significant exodus to date, making their net gain considerable.

4. USC

The biggest winner (nationally) from the 2021-22 transfer cycle stands to benefit again, thanks largely to … Arizona? That’s right. Receiver Dorian Singer, cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace and defensive lineman Kyon Barrs give the Trojans impact players at positions of need. They also landed all-conference punter Eddie Czaplicki from ASU. Meanwhile, the attrition has been limited with linebacker Ralen Goforth (to Washington) as perhaps the most significant.

5. Oregon

The Ducks are currently playing the quantity vs. quality game: They have lost a slew of players, including front-line contributors. The number of arrivals isn’t nearly as large but includes several gems. Atop that list is receiver Traeshon Holden, who caught six touchdowns for Alabama this season. The Ducks also landed offensive lineman Ajani Cornelius from Rhode island. Don’t let that fool you — he was coveted by a handful of high-level Power Five programs.

6. Utah

Our assessment of Utah’s portal success begins and ends with the following premise: Players will be more productive for the Utes than they were at their previous school given the track record for development in Salt Lake City. With that, the Utes have acquired two important defensive pieces: Levani Damuni, an all-conference (honorable mention) linebacker from Stanford, and Logan Fano, an edge rusher from BYU. The level of attrition so far is minimal.

7. Arizona State

Not surprisingly, the coaching change has fueled massive roster turnover in Tempe. The Sun Devils lost several starters, including offensive linemen LaDarius Henderson (Michigan) and Ben Scott (Nebraska). But the influx of talent has been significant and includes two quarterbacks: Drew Pyne (Notre Dame) and Jacob Conover (BYU). Our guess: Plenty of Arizona natives who signed elsewhere in years past will be interested in coming home to join Kenny Dillingham’s program.

8. Arizona

If any program in the conference has lost a higher percentage of its top talent to the portal, we are unaware. Singer, Roland-Wallace and Barrs all heading to USC is a triple-whammy and will be difficult to offset, no matter who the Wildcats pull from the portal. Coach Jedd Fisch recently landed Oregon linebacker Justin Flowe, the No. 1 rated inside linebacker in the country two years ago. And others are on the way, but there is much work ahead.

9. Oregon State

There’s no secret to the portal calculation in Corvallis: Once again, the Beavers have experienced limited attrition and are well set for 2023 at many positions; but OSU desperately needs a quarterback. And to this point, the Beavers haven’t found their man (at least, not officially). Until coach Jonathan Smith finds a potential starter from the portal — we have no doubt he will — the Hotline plans to delay judgment.

10. Cal

Not surprisingly, the Bears got whacked up front with starting tackle Ben Coleman leaving for Arizona State. Losing linebacker Oladejo to UCLA is a blow, as well. (Quarterback Jack Plummer? Not so much.) In terms of arrivals, Cal grabbed Oregon tailback Byron Cardwell and Sergio Allen, a former four-star recruit who spent three years at Clemson. But the key pieces remain in place, so far: Tailback Jaydn Ott and receiver J. Michael Sturdivant have not entered the portal.

11. Washington State

Given that the transfer portal database on 247 Sports shows 15 departures and one addition for WSU since the Apple Cup, it’s safe to assume the Cougars are in net-negative territory. The losses include linebacker Francisco Mauigoa (to Miami) and receiver De’Zhaun Stribling (to Oklahoma State). Some degree of rebalancing undoubtedly will occur over the next month. But how much? And at which positions? Watch the offensive line.

12. Stanford

Who’s not in the transfer portal in the wake of another terrible season, the departure of David Shaw and the hiring of Troy Taylor? As of this writing, Stanford has 17 outbound players and zero inbound players, according to 247 Sports. No unit has been hit harder than the offensive line, which lost two players to Michigan (Myles Hinton and Drake Nugent). To what extent will the university adjust its policy to allow Taylor to work the portal for immediate help?

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