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Tracking Pac-12 players who transferred or opted out for NFL Draft due to COVID-19

Might some decide to come back?

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Oregon OT Penei Sewell
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Now that it’s almost a given that the Pac-12 will bring back football in some form this season, it’s time to start taking a closer look at the league’s rosters. Or in this case, who is no longer on them.

Since the Pac-12 announced Aug. 11 it was canceling all sports for the remainder of 2020—a decision it’s on the cusp of reversing, for football at least—more than 20 players have left their respective programs in some form, either declaring for the NFL Draft or entering the NCAA transfer portal.

Ten schools have had at least one departure during that time, including the Arizona Wildcats, who have seen three seniors announce their transfer since the cord was cut on the 2020 season. Wide receiver Brenden Schooler—who never played for the UA, having come to the team as a graduate transfer from Oregon during the offseason—is now at Texas where he’s already caught a touchdown pass, while younger brother Colin Schooler is now playing linebacker at Texas Tech.

Arizona’s third transfer, DE/LB Kylan Wilborn, just entered the transfer portal on Monday.

The biggest loser, so to speak, is Washington State, which has seen seven players including four wide receivers enter the portal. The most notable is Tay Martin, a senior who would have been the Cougars’ top returning pass catcher after hauling in 43 receptions for 564 yards and four TDs in 2019, but instead is at Oklahoma State for his final season.

All told, 16 Pac-12 players have entered the portal since Aug. 11 with another nine entering their names into the 2021 NFL Draft. That includes Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, whom Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has going third overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in his most recent mock draft.

Once the Pac-12 finalizes its plans for this fall—its CEO group is scheduled to meet Thursday and presumably vote on a return—there is a chance some of those NFL declarants may reverse course, as has been the case since the Big Ten announced a return in October. Whether the player has signed with an agent would determine if they’d be eligible to play.

Players who have entered the portal could also withdraw their name and potentially return.

Pac-12 players who have entered 2021 NFL Draft

California—CB Camryn Bynum

“Bynum finishes his Cal career with 38 consecutive starts and 169 tackles. He recorded five interceptions, 27 pass breakups and 32 passes defended. For three straight seasons, from 2017-2019, Bynum led the Cal defense in both pass breakups and passes defended. That speaks volumes to his ability from a defense that held current New York Jets rookie safety Ashtyn Davis. — CaliforniaGoldenBlogs.com

Oregon—CB Thomas Graham Jr., CB Deommodore Lenoir, OT Penei Sewell

Graham “was set to enter the 2020 season as the FBS active leader in passes defended (40) and pass breakups (32). He earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019 and recorded eight interceptions and 182 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss, in three seasons at Oregon. The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Graham started his final 39 games with the Ducks.” — ESPN

“Oregon’s top outside cornerback...Lenoir had 47 tackles with 2.5 for loss, seven pass breakups, an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery last season. He had 52 tackles with three for loss and nine pass breakups as a sophomore, but his slight drop in production as a junior was because most teams were avoiding throwing in his direction.” — OregonLive

Sewell “is widely projected as a top five pick in next year’s draft. The 6-foot-6, 330-pound Sewell did not allow a sack last season, had eight games without allowing a pressure, hit or hurry and allowed just seven quarterback pressures in 466 pass-blocking snaps en route to becoming the third unanimous All-American in Oregon program history. He led the Ducks with 58 knockdowns and led the nation with a run-blocking grade of 95.3 from Pro Football Focus and was third with a pass-blocking grade of 91.1.” — OregonLive

Stanford—OT Walker Little

“As the first true freshman to start at left tackle for Stanford since Kirk Chambers in 2000, Little was named the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Co-Player of the Year and ESPN Freshman All-America. In his sophomore year, Little was All-Pac-12 first team. Little is a former five-star recruit who is seen as a potential first round NFL draft pick in 2021.” — Stanford Daily

Washington—DT Levi Onwuzurike, LB Joe Tryon

Onwuzurike “was named 1st team all Pac-12 for his play a season ago. He finishes his Husky career with 95 tackles and seven sacks. Many analysts believed that Onwuzurike would be somewhere between a 2nd and 4th round draft pick (with an outside chance at the 1st round) although we’ll see how that changes without adding more tap.” — UWDawgPound.com

“Last season Tryon broke out with eight sacks and earned 2nd team all-conference for his efforts as a redshirt sophomore. He finishes his UW career with 61 total tackles and 9.5 sacks.” — UWDawgPound.com

USC—DT Jay Tufele, OT Alijah Vera-Tucker

Tufele, “who was set to be a redshirt junior this season, had 64 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown over 24 games at USC. Many draft analysts have Tufele ranked among the top defensive tackles in the 2021 class.” — ProFootballTalk

“Vera-Tucker’s departure is a massive loss for the Trojans. The redshirt junior was the linchpin of USC’s offensive line as the most experienced and versatile player on the depth chart.” — USCFootball.com.

Entered NCAA transfer portal (with destinations, if applicable)

Arizona — WR Brenden Schooler (Texas), LB Colin Schooler (Texas Tech), DE/LB Kylan Wilborn (TBD)

Colin Schooler was Arizona’s best defender and active career leader in tackles, Wilborn was once a productive pass rusher and Brenden Schooler was expected to be one of UA’s top receivers.

Arizona State— QB Jack Smith (TBD)

“With ASU’s once-rich quarterback depth depleted, he was back to play quarterback and was hoping to compete to be Jayden Daniels’ backup.” — AZCentral

California—DL Luc Bequette (Boston College), WR Ricky Walker (Oregon State)

Bequette “finished the 2019 season with a career-high 52 tackles and would have been an integral part of the Cal defensive line for the 2021, née 2020, football season, whenever that did take place.” — California Golden Blogs

Walker “was moved to wide receiver when Justin Wilcox took the helm and earned a scholarship last August. He caught his only two passes of the 2019 season against his new team as well, hauling in two passes for 30 yards against Oregon State.” — California Golden Blogs

UCLA—OL Jake Burton (Baylor)

Burton “was largely seen as UCLA’s best offensive weapon for the 2020, or 2021 season. He is also seen as the potentially highest draftable prospect on the offense as well.” — Bruins Nation

Utah — DB Alphonso Taylor (TBD)

“While Taylor wasn’t expected to play a major role this upcoming season in the defensive backfield, he was expected to provide depth at the position and play a key role in special teams.” — Sports Illustrated

Washington State — QB John Bledsoe (TBD), DB Skylar Thomas, EDGE Cosmas Kwete (TBD), WR Rodrick Fisher (TBD), WR Tay Martin (Oklahoma State), WR Mike Pettway (TBD), WR Kassidy Woods (TBD),

“Last year wasn’t exactly a great one for the WSU defense, but Thomas was a consistent force for the team. He started in all but one game, racking up 72 tackles, along with a team-best four interceptions. He’s also a versatile talent, starting every game in 2018 at free safety before moving to a hybrid role last season as a redshirt junior.” — CougCenter.com

“After arriving to Pullman as a three-star recruit, the 6-foot-3, 241-pound Kwete was a promising young player on the Cougars’ defense, and one of just two true freshmen to appear in more than four games, joining Travion Brown.” — Spokesman Review

“While WSU has sufficient depth at the inside receiver positions, bringing back three players – Renard Bell, Travell Harris and Jamire Calvin – who’ve combined for over 2,900 career receiving yards, the Cougars appear to be thin at the outside spots. Other than Calvin Jackson Jr., who has 404 career receiving yards and played in four games during a redshirt season in 2019, the Cougars have just one other returning outside receiver in Brandon Gray. The redshirt sophomore caught only two passes in limited field time last season.” — Spokesman Review