These are our annual Pac-12 triplet rankings. We’ve selected a trio of skill players from each team in the conference.
The rules: Each player comes from a different position group, so the offensive version of this series features a quarterback, a running back, and a wide receiver. Each program’s troika is ranked against the others in the Pac-12, and we’ll be unveiling and writing about each in reverse-countdown order. Remember that this is not an all-inclusive offensive ranking, but rather only one of each team's triplets.
Note: For teams that haven't selected a starter at the quarterback position, you'll notice that we've kept things open-ended with who's competing for the starting job.
We continue our offensive rankings with No. 9 Oregon State.
QB Marcus McMaryion/Darell Garretson/Jake Luton: This position has been in flux ever since Sean Mannion graduated. Seth Collins, the 2015 starter, is now a wide receiver. Garretson opened 2016 as the main man, but an ankle injury ended his season in mid-October. McMaryion took over and enjoyed some bright moments, while Luton -- the tallest option at 6-foot-6-- enrolled as a junior college transfer this year. There's no clear separation among the three at this point.
RB Ryan Nall: The Wrecking Nall has quietly introduced himself as one of the Pac-12's best running backs. He averaged a healthy 6.5 yards per carry last season, narrowly missing the 1,000-yard mark. The good news is that Nall's 147-carry workload was nowhere near the league's heaviest (Christian McCaffrey had 253 carries while Phillip Lindsay had 244), so the 234-pounder should be more than ready to rumble as the Beavers' centerpiece in 2017.
WR Jordan Villamin: Oregon State's leading returning receiver is Collins, but he missed the last two games of 2016 after contracting a scary case of meningitis. He isn't participating in spring practice, so we'll use Villamin -- the Beavers' second-leading returning receiver -- to round out this trio. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Villamin's size oozes potential. But he only caught one touchdown pass in 2016, so Oregon State will look to utilize that height more and create an effective red-zone tandem with Nall in 2017.
Verdict: Nall is an excellent player, and that alone pulls the Beavers away from the very bottom of the heap. But Villamin, despite the promise, has yet to turn the corner into a bona-fide production machine, and such development can't just be assumed until Oregon State actually settles on a starting quarterback. The Beavers averaged a league-worst 5.9 yards per pass attempt last season, so they'll have to show improvement through the air to complement Nall before climbing into the top half of these rankings.