Gold: Who I wish was coming to Pac-12 Media Day
LOS ANGELES — The best of the best of the West descend upon L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Friday morning for Pac-12 Media Days.
Well, most of the best, at least.
Unfortunately, we’ll only get to hear from 24 of Pac-12’s top players, as well as the league’s coaches.
Here are a handful of players I would’ve liked to hear from.
Oregon QB Bo Nix
I’m all for bringing offensive linemen to media days. They are often some of the most thoughtful, interesting speakers at the event. But running it back with center Alex Forsyth? He was at Pac-12 Media Day last year.
Nix would’ve been the more obvious pick. Who wouldn’t want to hear about Nix’s transfer from Auburn? Who wouldn’t want to pick his brain about reuniting with offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham? Who wouldn’t want to ask him about his recent nuptials with Auburn cheerleader, and now wife, Izzy Smoke?
Steak or salmon? Band or DJ? What flavors in the cake? Inquiring minds need to know.
Arizona QB Jayden de Laura
Jedd Fisch has done a phenomenal job recruiting and selling prospects on his vision in Tucson. But his biggest recruit so far has been de Laura, the Washington State stud who earned Pac-12 freshman of the year honors last season. Am I excited to see de Laura’s battery-mate, UTEP transfer Jacob Cowing? Yes, definitely. Bringing the both of them would’ve been a power move.
Cal LB Jackson Sirmon
Cal defensive selection Daniel Scott is certainly a worthy selection, as arguably the top returning safety in the conference. You can’t deny his talent.
But Sirmon leaving Washington to join dear old dad, Cal defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon, is such an awesome story. Plus, Sirmon the Younger isn’t half-bad as a linebacker, either. The all-conference honorable mention selection last season had 95 tackles.
Oregon State LB Omar Speights
A freshman All-America selection by numerous publications in 2019, Speights is a two-time all-conference selection (second-team, honorable mention) and arguably the conference’s best defender. A contender for Defensive Player of the Year, Speights story is interesting, as well: he moved to Corvallis before his senior year from Philadelphia after one of his friends was lost to gun violence.
Stanford TE Benjamin Yurosek
I’m all about the Stanford tight end lineage.
I’m more about incredibly weird facts.
Did you know – wait, please tell me you don’t know – that Yurosek’s great-grandfather is credited with inventing the baby carrot? Do you know how many questions I have about that? It’ll get me that much closer to learning who invented the baby zucchini!
UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet
Not tasking Dorian Thompson-Robinson with the short drive to L.A. Live is understandable – the Bruins’ long-time starter went in 2021 – but not taking arguably the best running back in the conference and one of the top backs in the country? Less so.
Charbonnet was terrific for the Bruins last year after transferring back home from Michigan. I’d love to talk to the former Oaks Christian product about the importance of returning home, and about his remarkable consistency. Charbonnet topped 100 yards seven times last season, and the Bruins went 7-0 in those games.
Zach Charbonnet is expected to be one of the nation’s leading rushers in 2022: https://t.co/nb1lozu2yJ
— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) July 28, 2022
USC WR Jordan Addison
Last year, USC eschewed tradition and invited two offensive players to Media Day: quarterback Kedon Slovis and wide receiver Drake London. So, at least there is precedent here.
Instead, USC is bringing linebacker Shane Lee, an Alabama transfer, to go along with Caleb Williams. Williams’ story is certainly compelling, and it will be fascinating to learn more about his burgeoning brand, but maybe offer the returning Fred Biletnikoff Award winner next time.
Of course, given the controversy surrounding Addison’s transfer, maybe the Trojans are just guarding him tightly. This might be the only time he’s quiet this season.
USC DL Tuli Tuipulotu
Lee is not a bad representative for the USC defense, and his seniority gives him superiority over Tuipulotu. But the latest in an illustrious Tonjan lineage in Heritage Hall, Tuipulotu has been a star in the interior. He was a terror for USC last year, totaling 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks, and now he’s got a deeper and more talented defense surrounding him.
Utah RB Tavion Thomas
When you’ve got the 2021 All-Pac-12 first team quarterback returning, you give him the Media Days platform. And Cameron Rising does make for a compelling figure. But 21 touchdowns! Tavion Thomas had 21 touchdowns last season, a Utah record. That was five more than any other player in the conference last season.
Oregon LB Noah Sewell
He may still be a youngster, but age is but a number for the Pac-12’s best young defender. The brother of former Oregon stud – and now promising Detroit Lions offensive tackle – Penei Sewell, little brother Noah has the makings of a conference DPOY candidate.
Then again, the Ducks’ defensive offering on Friday, linebacker DJ Johnson, has his own YouTube channel, and his latest series is dedicated to his sweet dog and titled “Puppy Vibes.” I’m just fine with that.