Coming off a rather uninspiring draft, the Pac-12 is poised for its best April in years come 2024, highlighted by the projected No. 1 overall pick, Caleb Williams.

Is Williams in a class of his own among a star-studded Pac-12 class?

Or can the competition catch up to him, even if they can’t on the field?

Here are my early projections for the top 10 Pac-12 prospects, even though that’s only scratching the surface with this group.

1. USC QB Caleb Williams

Forget the top prospect in the Pac-12, Williams is the top prospect in the country and arguably would’ve gone number one in this year’s draft. had he been eligible, ahead of Bryce Young.

He’s vying to become Lincoln Riley’s 3rd No. 1 overall pick, joining Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, whose rarefied air Williams already joined as Riley’s third Heisman Trophy winner.

The big question on everybody’s mind is can Williams actually be better? His brilliance last season was based on creativity, accuracy, intangibles and feel. It’s scary to imagine what he’ll look like in Year 3 of Riley’s innovative offense, but even if he just performs up to his own par, that’s plenty good enough for him to go No. 1.

2. Washington Edge Bralen Trice

The 6-4 pass-rush specialist surprised many when he returned after a standout 2022 campaign when he was an All-American by several publications, as well as first-team all-conference. Trice wasn’t just a media darling, he was a scout’s dream, ranking No. 1 by Pro Football Focus with 67 QB pressures, a 91.4 Pass Rush Grade and a 31% Pass Rush Win Rate.

Trice is poised for a monster season, and he might have the most upside of any player in the conference this year. Currently ranked as a late 1st-rounder or early 2nd-rounder, I’m pegging him to go in the top 15 if the Huskies have another big year.

3. Washington WR Rome Odunze

Odunze made The Leap last year, posting 6 100-yard games en route to a 1,145-yard season on 75 receptions. He also added 7 touchdowns as 1/3 of one of the top young receiver trios in the game.

His decision to return to Washington instead of declaring for the NFL was a delightful surprise for Kalen DeBoer, especially because the whole talented Huskies trio — Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan — all returned.

They’ll all target 1,000 receiving yards in DeBoer’s offense, but Odunze and his 6-3, 201-pound frame stand out as the top prospect.

4. Utah S Cole Bishop

A 2-time All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a freshman and sophomore, Bishop is a tackling machine and all-around threat for the Utes who has been getting 1st- and 2nd-round buzz for months.

He returns for his true junior season ranked 2nd among Pac-12 defensive backs in tackles per game, and for a program that has featured several impact safeties, Bishop looks the part at 6-2, 206 pounds and plays the part, as well. With his secondary-mate Clark Phillips III off to the NFL, Bishop should take a big step in leadership and profile.

5. Oregon WR Troy Franklin

Franklin showed off a little of what he could do in the Oregon spring game on Saturday, when he dazzled with a 33-yard touchdown connection with Bo Nix. The budding junior is looking to break the 1,000-yard mark for the first time after showing rapid improvement last year as a sophomore when he had 61 catches for 891 yards and 9 touchdowns.

His rapport with Nix was evident in the spring game, as is his singularity in the Oregon offense. Unlike Odunze, he won’t have to share the ball nearly as much. He’s not quite as thick as Odunze, but he’s got the length, the hands and the wiggle.

6. Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

Williams could have some company at the top of the draft with another Pac-12 quarterback (or two) as Penix is also in the Heisman conversation and looking at a potential top-10 overall pick if he delivers another record-breaking season. Like Williams, he has advanced familiarity with his head coach’s offense, but his aerial attack with a returning trio of targets that rank second to none in the country has truly bonkers potential in 2023. Watching Penix under Kalen DeBoer and Ryan Grubb for another year is going to be special.

In some ways, Penix is even more of a finished product than Williams, but then again, it’s Williams’ raw potential that makes him one of the most hyped quarterbacks to come out in ages.

7. USC S Calen Bullock

I’ll never forget watching Bullock stand atop the band leader’s tower with the Trojan sword held high after USC beat Notre Dame last year.

That was one of the USC sophomore’s best games of the year: 5 tackles and an interception in a 38-27 win over the Fighting Irish. It would go down as the team’s last of the season, as they lost 2 straight behind a slumping defense.

Bullock is key to the turnaround this year as junior, and he’ll get plenty of credit if the Trojans can right the ship.

8. Oregon QB Bo Nix

Nix was a revelation last year, his first in Eugene.

Was it Dan Lanning? Was it the reunion with Kenny Dillingham?
Was it maturity?

Nix beat his previous career-high in passer rating by more than 35 points, throwing for a career-high 29 touchdowns with 7 interceptions.

His draft window is pretty large right now, but if he puts together another big campaign, he can play himself into the top 2 rounds.

9. Washington LB Zion Tupuola-Fetui

About to play in his 6th college campaign, Tupuola-Fetui might scare some teams off with his seniority, but his talent is not up for debate.

A 2-time all-conference selection and 2020 second-team All-American, Tupuola-Fetui has battled injuries throughout his career, but if he can stay healthy another full year, he’ll boost his stock.

10. Oregon DL Brandon Dorlus

Yet another player who would likely have been drafted high had he entered this year’s draft, Dorlus can send his stock through the roof with another big campaign. The 2-time all-conference selection had 9.5 tackles for loss last year after 7.0 in 2021 primarily playing defensive tackle.

His versatility and ability to create a pass rush from the interior will be coveted by NFL teams, especially if he can put together a double-digit season.