Heading into the 2022 Pac-12 season, some starting quarterback competitions are clearly over.

You think someone’s unseating Caleb Williams? Cameron Rising? Laughable.

Others, though, are up for debate.

Here’s a look at where things stand amid the first week of fall practice.

Locked In


Week 1 starter: Jayden de Laura

The former Pac-12 freshman of the year with Washington State, de Laura is in a good spot with Arizona and head coach Jedd Fisch, who had great things to say about him early in fall camp.

“The natural parts and the natural gifts that he has of being able to see and throw and make plays off schedule and (operate) in the pocket all come very natural to him,” Fisch told the Arizona Daily Star. “What somebody that comes from a different scheme has to pick up when it comes to our scheme is, it’s a little bit more based on timing. And it’s a little bit more programmed. So he’s had to get to that comfort level of taking a snap, getting his feet right.”


Week 1 starter: Tanner McKee

Big things are expected out of McKee, who threw 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions last year. While much of his production came in the first half of the season, McKee is projected as an early-round draft pick.


Week 1 starter: Dorian Thompson-Robinson

DTR looked terrific last year and led the conference in passing efficiency. If his volume goes up just a bit and he makes slightly better use of his legs, the Bruins are in a good spot and Thompson-Robinson is contending for postseason honors.


Week 1 starter: Caleb Williams

Uh, of course. With the history Lincoln Riley has with young starting quarterbacks, Williams is a Heisman candidate.


Week 1 starter: Cameron Rising

The reigning Pac-12 first-team quarterback, Rising has the chance to, get this, rise up draft boards this year. Another conference championship would do big things for his resume.

Washington State

Week 1 starter: Cameron Ward

One of the most talked-about transfers in the Pac-12, the former Incarnate Word quarterback has a chance to be special. Most importantly, he is clearly the guy for the Cougars.

Up For Grabs


Projected Week 1 starter: Brendon Lewis (Projected Week 3 starter: J.T. Shrout)

Sorry for the misdirection, but I predict a wild start for Colorado.

In July, Buffaloes head coach Karl Dorrell said that Brendon Lewis, the team’s incumbent starter, was in the driver’s seat heading into fall camp. Only one problem, when Lewis had the keys to the car last season, Colorado’s engine never revved up. Shrout, who came to the program after showing promise at times for the Tennessee Volunteers, missed all of last season and is playing way back into shape.

If, as I expect, Lewis gets off to a poor start against a brutal non-conference schedule, which includes TCU, Air Force, and Minnesota, Shrout will get his shot sooner than later.

Arizona State

Projected Week 1 starter: Emory Jones

This is a tough one. On one hand, you’ve got Jones, the former Florida starter. In another, you’ve got Paul Tyson, formerly an Alabama backup and the great-grandson of Tide legend Bear Bryant, who left to find a new opportunity. Then there’s Trenton Bourget, the semi-local kid from Tucson, back for his redshirt junior season with the most system experience out of the bunch.

Given Jones’ experience with the Gators, you expect him to get the nod. But Tyson took the first snaps in 11-on-11 drills in ASU’s first practice. Then Jones came in and reportedly got the majority of the rest. Bourguet mixed in and arguably looked better than the other two.

Who knows where this one is going three weeks away from game week?

Jones appears to be in the driver’s seat, but his hold on the steering wheel is precarious.


Projected Week 1 starter: Jack Plummer

Can you call it a raw deal if you’re replacement as starting quarterback ends up second-team All-Big Ten? Jack Plummer might have a bone to pick with the Purdue Boilermakers after losing his gig to Aidan O’Connell four games into the season, but what he showed was certainly good enough for Cal. Plummer had seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his first four starts for the Boilermakers last year, after tossing eight scores and just two picks in three games in 2020, all losses.

Seeking to replace the reliable Chase Garbers, the Bears are pitting Plummer against sophomore Kai Millner. Millner should get some playing time this year, but Plummer headed into camp as the No. 1 and will keep the role this time around.


Projected Week 1 starter: Bo Nix

It almost feels duplicitous putting Nix down here on the list instead of up with the locks, but new Oregon head coach Dan Lanning declared an open competition during fall camp. How much of a competition is it, really, considering Nix’s former offensive coordinator at Auburn, Kenny Dillingham, is now up in Eugene in the same role?

Would Nix really have gone west if he wasn’t going to be a lock for starting quarterback? Considering his competition, Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield, have combined for six total passes in their careers, this one is clearly a done deal.

Oregon State

Projected Week 1 starter: Chance Nolan

If you’re wondering why Nolan wasn’t an auto-starter heading into fall camp, look no further than inconsistency. Nolan finished with the second-highest passing efficiency in the conference last season (148.3) but he had three games above that mark in the first four weeks and then topped it just twice the rest of the way. Mixed into his good performances were duds against Washington (7-for-15, 48 yards, one pick, 60.2 rating), Washington State (11-for-25, 158 yards, no touchdowns, two picks, 81.1 rating), and Colorado (20-for-38, 255 yards, one score, one pick, 112 rating).

If Nolan can show out in fall camp like he did against Utah in a 42-34 upset win, his challengers—Tristan Gebbia and Ben Gulbranson—are in trouble.

Beavers offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren feels confident in all three, but he knows what he’s looking for out of these next few weeks.

“It’s consistency,” he said. “The day in, day out, doing things that we are going to ask to do within our system.”


Projected Week 1 starter: Michael Penix

Word out of Seattle is that the Huskies are going to push the tempo like never before, and that is going to require some versatility at the quarterback position. Unfortunately for incumbent two-year starter Dylan Morris, that probably means Penix gets the first crack at the position. He was in fact with the 1s to open fall camp, but it sounds like new head coach Kalen DeBoer is going to keep the competition up for a while at least.

Penix is by no means a two-way threat. He had minus-24 rushing yards last year, but he did have 119 yards and two scores in 2019. Morris, meanwhile, did Penix one better (err, one worse?) rushing for minus-25 yards last year.