The Pac-12 announced the All-Conference teams for football this afternoon and several Huskies were selected. Cornerbacks Kyler Gordon and Trent McDuffie along with OT Jaxson Kirkland (his 2nd straight year) all earned 1st team honors while Race Porter earned 2nd team. 5 Husky players managed an honorable mention: WR Terrell Bynum, DL Tuli Letuligasenoa, RB Sean McGrew, LB Jackson Sirmon, and OC Luke Wattenberg. Colorado (1), California (2), Stanford (2), Oregon State (3), USC (3), and Arizona (3) had fewer than Washington’s 4 players across the 1st and 2nd teams combined.
Washington’s underwhelming season was partially evident by the difference between the preseason all-conference teams and the actual results today. TE Cade Otton was a 1st team preseason pick but didn’t end up even making honorable mention after missing several games and not ending up a featured part of the passing game. LB Edefuan Ulofoshio was a 2nd team all-conference selection in the preseason but didn’t quite have the same impact he did last year and then missed the final half of the year due to injury. Trent McDuffie and Kirkland were both named 1st team in the preseason and then lived up to the hype in the eyes of the voters.
No Huskies ended up taking home the larger awards which was not a surprise. USC WR Drake London won Pac-12 OPOY despite missing almost half the season because he was overwhelmingly the best receiver in the country when healthy. Utah’s LB Devin Lloyd bested Kayvon Thiboeaux for DPOY which was deserved based on the play on the field this year as opposed to NFL draft stock. Wazzu QB Jayden de Laura won OFOY which it’s hard to dispute given he was the only QB to eviscerate the Husky passing defense this year. And Utah’s DT Junior Tafuna won DFOY with his head coach Kyle Whittingham as the coach of the year.
It’s hard to say that any Husky truly got snubbed. The 3 best players on the team all season were Gordon, McDuffie, and Porter and each made one of the teams. OL Jaxson Kirkland missed some time due to injury and struggled at others but played superbly against Oregon and the voting at offensive line is largely based on reputation rather than performance. I think there’s an argument that could be made for Tuli Letuligasenoa at 2nd team based on how the team looked when he wasn’t in the game. I think Bookie Radley-Hiles likely deserved honorable mention with some of the big moments he had this season. But this was a fair ballot for the Huskies.
Of Washington’s 9 representatives it seems likely that only 3 return next season (all honorable mentions). Race Porter, Sean McGrew, and Luke Wattenberg are all 6th year seniors who are out of eligibility. While they haven’t announced it publicly both Kyler Gordon and Jaxson Kirkland have taken steps that appear that they have declared for the draft. Trent McDuffie has also not released a statement but seems to be a clear top-50 selection and will in all likelihood also turn pro. Terrell Bynum has already stated his intentions to return for a final 6th season while Tuli Letuligasenoa and Jackson Sirmon would raise some serious eyebrows and likely go undrafted if they were to turn pro right now.
Going into next season we could see any of those 3 show up on a preseason 2nd team list as well as a returned to health Edefuan Ulofoshio and/or Zion Tupuola-Fetui. If QB Jake Haener does transfer to Washington he could end up under consideration on a preseason team depending on the draft decisions of some of the other Pac-12 quarterbacks.