Yesterday, the Pac-12 announced the All-Conference teams as well as the awards for Offensive Player of the Year, Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Freshman Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.
The least shocking news by far was the winner of Coach of the Year, Todd Graham of Arizona State. The Sun Devils are hosting the Pac-12 Championship Game and went 8-1 in conference play. Pretty impressive year, and a deserved award.
The Offensive Player of the Year also went to an Arizona school, with Ka'Deem Carey winning the vote. I'd be interested to see exactly how that voting broke down, as Bishop Sankey, Marcus Mariota and Brandin Cooks all had strong cases for the award. Carey rushed for 1417 yards and 13 touchdowns in 9 Pac-12 games (focus is on Pac-12 play, not full season).
The Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year is a little more controversial, as both Stanford's Trent Murphy (11 sacks and 16 TFLs in Pac-12 play) and UCLA's Anthony Barr (9 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and 15 TFLs in Pac-12 play) were passed over to give the award to defensive tackle Will Sutton of Arizona State (not in the top 20 for sacks in Pac-12 play and 8th in TFLs with 10). Sutton is an extrememly talented player, but he was not even the most deserving candidate on his own defense, as both LB/DE Carl Bradford and defensive back Robert Nelson would have been better choices. Sutton also underperformed in several conference game and actually hurt his draft stock over the course of the season. This another award where I would like to see the detailed voting results.
UCLA was not shut out of awards though, as Myles Jack won the award for Defensive Freshman of the Year. This was the most obvious award outside of Coach of the Year. Jack finished Pac-12 play with 7 passes defended (1st among LBs in the conference), 2 fumble recoveries and 57 total tackles in just 8 conference games on defense. The only possible competition was from Su'a Cravens at Southern Cal, but this was likely a near unanimous vote.
The surprise came when Jack was also award Offensive Freshman of the Year, despite only playing a handful of games (only 1 full game) as a short yardage running back. He compiled 267 rushing yards, averaged 7.2 yards per carry, and scored 7 rushing touchdowns in games against Arizona, Washington, Arizona State and Southern Cal. This is a case where I can put my UCLA bias aside and say that this was awarded to Jack mostly due to media hype. I would have had Jack somewhere around 5th on my ballot (if they even do ballots for these). QB Jared Goff from Cal seemed like an obvious choice (2202 passing yards, 11 touchdown passes), and either Oregon's RB Thomas Tyner (609 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns) or Jack's teammate RB Paul Perkins (470 rushing yards and 230 receiving yards with 3 touchdowns) would have gotten my vote before Jack. There is an argument to be made for Colorado's Sefo Liufau as well. Regardless, congratulations to Jack on the recognition. He'll likely recieve many more awards in his career as a Bruin.
Now to the All-Pac-12 teams. Here are the first and second teams units from the Pac-12 website:
As you can see, UCLA was not overly well represented on the first or second team. Anthony Barr and Xavier-Su'a Filo both made the first team and Myles Jack and Ryan Hofmeister (as a special teams player) made the 2nd team.
But, to be honest, I can't find a ton of flaws with the 1st team selections. The only changes I would have made would be bumping a defensive back (probably Darby from ASU) to add in Carl Bradford as a LB/DE. The 1st team offense is close to flawless and I would favor that unit against any 1st Team All-Conference unit against any in the nation. Maybe you could argue for Austin Sefarian-Jenkins over Chris Coyle, but Coyle outproduced him.
In terms of representation per team:
Arizona State placed 6 on the first team and 7 on the second team
Stanford placed 6 on the first team and 6 on the second team (somehow Ty Montgomery gets to make the 1st and 2nd team at different positions, which seems unfair in the broad scheme of things)
Oregon placed 3 on the first team and 3 on the second team
UCLA had 2 on the first (Barr, XSF) and 2 (Hofmeister, Jack)
Southern Cal had 3 on the first and 4 on the second
I doubt that anyone wants to hear about the remainder of the conference.
While it appears that UCLA is woefully under-represented, the only player that I would argue for a spot is Eric Kendricks on the 2nd team over Hayes Pullard (who he outproduced across the board).
The Bruins blew the rest of the conference out of the water in All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention representatives though, with a whopping 16 players. (Southern Cal had 12, Washington had 8 and Oregon and Stanford had 7).
Those players deserve recognition on here for what they accomplished this season, and I'd like to point out that all but three of the sixteen are eligible to return next season. (Listed in class order)
Wide Receiver Shaq Evans (Redshirt Senior)
Defensive End Cassius Marsh (Senior)
Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (Senior)
Defensive Back Anthony Jefferson (Redshirt Junior)
Linebacker Eric Kendricks (Junior)
Quarterback Brett Hundley (Redshirt Sophomore)
Center Jacob Brendel (Redshirt Sophomore)
Wide Receiver Devin Fuller (Sophomore)
Defensive Back Randal Goforth (Sophomore)
Defensive Lineman Ellis McCarthy (Sophomore)
Cornerback Fabian Moreau (Sophomore)
Special Teams Jayon Brown (True Freshman)
Punter Sean Covington (True Freshman)
Tight End/Slot WR Thomas Duarte (True Freshman)
Guard Alex Redmond (True Freshman)
Defensive Lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (True Freshman)
The future is very bright for UCLA.