Why Justin Herbert, Jake Luton’s NFL success is a recruiting tool for Pac-12 conference


There are a lot of factors that go into the decision-making process for a high school recruit looking to play football at the college level, but a few stand out.

  • A good academic education
  • Number of championships
  • Will this team get me into the NFL?

Let’s separate and analyze the quarterback position with this mindset.

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There have been some big name quarterbacks from the Pac-12 conference to go on and have successful NFL careers: Carson Palmer (USC), Dan Fouts (Oregon), Troy Aikman (UCLA), Warren Moon (UW), and John Elway (Stanford) to name a few.

In today’s NFL, the trend continues with Aaron Rodgers (Cal), Jared Goff (Cal), Gardner Minshew III (WSU) and now Justin Herbert (Oregon) and Jake Luton (OSU) making a splash.

Herbert, the four-year starting quarterback that took Oregon from a 4-8 season in 2016 to a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl victory in 2020, is a leading candidate for the NFL Rookie of the Year award. Luton, after two years at Oregon State, got his first NFL start last Sunday for the Jacksonville Jaguars and his performance will make the QB battle in Jacksonville something to watch moving forward. 

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On the latest episode of The Bridge, host Justin Myers explains why their NFL success can be used as a huge recruiting tool for the Pac-12 conference:

“Quarterbacks from the Pac-12 are having some success - sorry, Sam Darnold, maybe a change of scenery might help you out… - the fact that Luton and Herbert are having some success in the NFL could potentially be good for the Pac-12. Because when it comes to coaching turnover, it looks as though the Pac-12 is kind of settled in. For the most part, the top tiered teams found their coaches and are going to be there for a while.”


The Oregon Ducks are locked in on Mario Cristobal; Arizona State and Herm Edwards; Stanford and David Shaw; Cal and Justin Wilcox…

“How do you get the big time recruits to come out West or more importantly stay out West? Continue to put guys in the NFL and have them succeed at big time positions,” Myers continued. “The more success the conference has in the NFL, the more exposure guys like Luton and, in particular, Justin Herbert gives colleges and schools out West, the more recruits are going to show up, the more success you’re going to have and the more national championships - or at least national championship opportunities - that will follow.”

It’s a domino effect. More big time wins, better kickoff times, and a few other factors bring higher ranked recruits and therefore a national presence to teams out West. Herbert and Luton’s success in the NFL will reflect positively back on their respective schools. 

Time to get the Pac-12 conference back in competition with the rest of the Power 5 conferences.