Washington and USC have been programs going in different directions. That didn't stop both schools from fielding two program-changing freshmen this year.
Huskies quarterback Jake Locker injected life into the program with his combination of passing and running. Whether it means a return to glory for the Huskies remains to be seen.
Unlike Washington, USC didn't need rescuing, but it fielded a freshman projected to be one of the school's greats. Joe McKnight wasn't quite the next Reggie Bush as a freshman but turned in his share of game-turning plays.
Locker is the Rivals.com Pac-10 offensive freshman of the year, and USC defensive end Everson Griffen is the defensive freshman of the year.
Rivals.com Freshman All-Pac 10 Team
QB Jake Locker, Washington (RS), 6-2/225 HIGH SCHOOL: Ferndale (Wash.) BUZZ: The so-called "Tim Tebow of the West" finished the season with 2,062 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while running for 986 yards and 13 scores.
RB Joe McKnight, USC, 6-0/180 HIGH SCHOOL: River Ridge (La.) John Curtis BUZZ: McKnight took a while to get his footing at USC but finished with 415 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go with 158 receiving yards and a score.
RB Nicolas Grigsby, Arizona, 5-10/187 HIGH SCHOOL: Whittier (Calif.) California BUZZ: Grigsby gave the Wildcats a bona-fide running threat with 704 rushing yards and two touchdowns; that's a school single-season record for a freshman.
WR Delashaun Dean, Arizona (RS), 6-4/190 HIGH SCHOOL: Fairfield (Calif.) High BUZZ: Dean gave Willie Tuitama another big weapon in Arizona's new spread offense. He finished with 37 catches for 418 yards and a touchdown.
WR James Rodgers, Oregon State, 5-7/171
HIGH SCHOOL: Richmond (Texas) Lamar Consolidated BUZZ: A versatile weapon in the Beavers' offense, Rodgers caught 14 passes for 168 yards but did more damage as a runner with 40 carries for 471 yards and two scores.
TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona, 6-6/250 HIGH SCHOOL: Pittsburgh Woodland Hills BUZZ: He became more involved in the offense toward the end of the season. A big target in the passing game, Gronkowski had 28 catches for 525 yards and six touchdowns.
OT Micah Hannam, Washington State (RS), 6-4/279 HIGH SCHOOL: Gig Harbor (Wash.) Peninsula BUZZ: Hannam started every game for a team that allowed the third-fewest sacks in the Pac-10 and led the league in pass offense.
OT Butch Lewis, USC (RS), 6-5/280 HIGH SCHOOL: Denver Regis Jesuit BUZZ: Lewis got a crash course in playing tackle for the Trojans when he started three games in place of an injured Sam Baker.
G Ryan Tolar, Washington (RS), 6-5/310 HIGH SCHOOL: Pasco (Wash.) High
BUZZ: Tolar started 12 games this season at left guard, paving the way for the two-headed rushing attack of Jake Locker (986 yards, 13 TDs) and Louis Rankin (1,294 yards, six TDs).
G Colin Baxter, Arizona (RS), 6-4/295 HIGH SCHOOL: Rolling Hills Estates (Calif.) Palos Verdes Peninsula BUZZ: Baxter started the final 11 games of the season in a pass-happy offense that improved its ground game as the year wore on.
C Kristofer O'Dowd, USC, 6-5/300 HIGH SCHOOL: Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Christian BUZZ: McKenzie claimed the starting center job in the third game of the season and kept it for the rest of the year.
DE Everson Griffen, USC, 6-3/265 HIGH SCHOOL: Avondale (Ariz.) Agua Fria BUZZ: The sixth-ranked recruit in the 2007 class did most of his damage late in the season. Of his 5.5 sacks, all but one came against Oregon State and Arizona State in November.
DE Kenny Rowe, Oregon, 6-3/215 HIGH SCHOOL: Long Beach (Calif.) Poly BUZZ: Nick Reed's backup had four sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss, including two sacks against Michigan.
DT Brian Price, UCLA, 6-1/295 HIGH SCHOOL: Los Angeles Crenshaw BUZZ: The Bruins' veteran defense didn't miss a step when Price entered the lineup because of injury. He finished with five tackles for loss.
DT Jon Hargis, Arizona State (RS), 6-4/310 HIGH SCHOOL: Mesa (Ariz.) Red Mountain BUZZ: Hargis started two games, finishing with 19 tackles with four tackles for loss.
LB Chike Amajoyi, Stanford, 6-0/233 HIGH SCHOOL: San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas BUZZ: Amajoyi had six starts at outside linebacker. He finished the season with 47 tackles, with 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
LB Mike Mohamed, California (RS), 6-4/220 HIGH SCHOOL: Brawley (Calif.) High BUZZ: The backup outside linebacker finished with 41 tackles and three pass breakups.
LB Mason Foster, Washington, 6-1/219 HIGH SCHOOL: Seaside (Calif.) High BUZZ: A three-game starter, he made the most of his time with 25 tackles and five tackles for loss.
CB Omar Bolden, Arizona State, 5-11/200
HIGH SCHOOL: Ontario (Calif.) Colony BUZZ: Bolden had six pass breakups and an interception for a unit than ranked 11th nationally in pass efficiency defense.
CB Chima Nwachukwu, Washington State (RS), 5-11/189 HIGH SCHOOL: Allen (Texas) High BUZZ: Nwachukwu started every game for the Cougars this season, recording 73 tackles, five pass breakups and an interception.
FS Taylor Skaufel, Stanford, 6-0/195 HIGH SCHOOL: The Woodlands (Texas) High BUZZ: Backing up the conference's second-leading tackler, Bo McNally, Skaufel finished with 35 tackles, including double-digit efforts against Oregon and Washington State.
NOTE: No freshman strong safety merited consideration.
K Thomas Weber, Arizona State (RS), 6-1/202 HIGH SCHOOL: Los Angeles Loyola BUZZ: A Lou Groza Award finalist, Weber started his career by converting his first 17 attempts. He was 6-of-6 on attempts of longer than 40 yards, including a long of 53.
P Keenyn Crier, Arizona (RS), 6-1/200 HIGH SCHOOL: Spring (Texas) Westfield BUZZ: Crier led the Pac-10 in punting with an average of 43.7 yards per kick.
KR Jahvid Best, California, 5-11/182 HIGH SCHOOL: Vallejo (Calif.) Salesian BUZZ: Before a season-ending hip injury, the speedy Best was Cal's secret weapon. He was most effective on kickoff returns averaging 27 yards on 15 attempts.
PR Joe McKnight, USC, 6-0/180 HIGH SCHOOL: River Ridge (La.) John Curtis BUZZ: McKnight averaged 7.8 yards per punt return, including a 45-yarder that turned the tide in a 20-14 win over Arizona.
ALL-PURPOSE Stanley Havili, USC (RS), 6-1/225 HIGH SCHOOL: Salt Lake City Cottonwood BUZZ: Havili returned from injury to become a top-notch lead blocker while adding 30 catches for 185 yards and five touchdowns and 129 rushing yards and two scores.