Next week the Pac-12 will release their selections for the all-conference team but with the Huskies done it’s still worth projecting which Dawgs may see their name called.
The conference releases a 1st and 2nd team with each of the following position designations: QB (1), RB (2), WR (2), TE (1), OL (5), DL (4), LB (3), DB (4), PK (1), P (1), AP/ST (1), RS (1). There can be more than that allotment on a team depending on if there’s a tie during the voting process. There are also several honorable mentions per position but it’s about how many receive votes rather than being a set extra number.
The selections are made by the league’s coaches whereas the preseason picks are made by the media. I’ll be honest that I’m not sure how they handle coaching changes and if they made David Shaw fill out a ballot before he resigned last weekend.
We’ll go position by position to see which Huskies have a shot.
Unfortunately for Michael Penix Jr., he plays in the same conference as the significant favorite to win the Heisman and therefore is quite unlikely to make it on the 1st team. The Pac-12 also has the best collection of elite QB stats of any conference in the country. Several someones are going to be very unhappy. Here are some blind resume comparisons.
Player A: 2,883 pass yards, 25 pass TDs, 7 INTs, 8.1 YPA, 621 rush yards, 11 rush TDs
Player B: 3,685 pass yards, 25 pass TDs, 13 INTs, 8.5 YPA, 122 rush yards, 4 rush TDs
Player C: 3,388 pass yards, 27 pass TDs, 6 INTs, 8.9 YPA, 504 rush yards, 14 rush TDs
Player D: 4,354 pass yards, 29 pass TDs, 7 INTs, 8.7 YPA, 86 rush yards, 4 rush TDs
Player E: 3,480 pass yards, 33 pass TDs, 3 INTs, 9.0 YPA, 316 rush yards, 7 rush TDs
Honestly I think any of those players would’ve ended up on the 1st team over Cam Rising last year who was the actual representative in 2021 which was a down year for Pac-12 quarterbacks. And he’s none of the 5 above despite coming back and playing all year.
For those that haven’t figured it out, A is Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA), B is Jayden de Laura (Arizona), C is Bo Nix (Oregon), D is Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), and E is Caleb Williams (USC).
DTR has the fewest total yards and the lowest yards per attempt of the group so I think he gets eliminated. De Laura threw almost twice as many interceptions as any of the other options so he is also out. That likely means it comes down to Penix and BoNix for the 2nd team spot. The fact that UW won the close game at Oregon means I think that Penix is going to prevail. But 41 total TDs and a slightly better yards per attempt would certainly put it neck and neck for the neutral observer.
Prediction: Michael Penix Jr.- 2nd team
There weren’t really many dominant running backs in the conference compared to recent seasons. Zach Charbonnet was the runaway winner in rushing yards despite missing 2 games. He finished the year averaging 36 more rushing yards per game than anyone else. He’s clearly on the 1st team. So is Arizona State’s Xazavian Valladay who came in as a Wyoming transfer and finished 2nd in rush yards and 1st in rush touchdowns with 16. I think that’s your clear 1st team duo.
Competing for the 2nd team spots are the following:
Damien Martinez, OSU: 3rd in rushing yards, t-8th in rushing TDs
Bucky Irving, Oregon: 4th in rushing yards, t-28th in rushing TDs
Jadyn Ott, California: 5th in rushing yards, t-7th in rushing TDs
Travis Dye, USC: 6th in rushing yards, 6th in rushing TDs
Wayne Taulapapa: 7th in rushing yards, 5th in rushing TDs
There are compelling arguments for basically everyone. Travis Dye put up his stats in only 10 games after getting hurt and is still right up there. Taulapapa had the most touchdowns of the group. Jadyn Ott was burdened with the worst offense of the bunch and is a true freshman just like Damien Martinez. Irving was the scariest running back we faced all year and added 300 yards receiving (as did Ott).
I think in the end I would go with Irving despite the lack of touchdowns and Dye based on his highs being higher. But I wouldn’t be shocked if any of the 5 ended up on the 2nd team (except maybe Taulapapa even if I love my Tauladaddy).
It’s also not crazy to think Cam Davis gets honorable mention consideration for finishing 3rd among running backs in rushing touchdowns with 13 although I don’t think he did enough between the 20’s to get there.
Prediction: Wayne Taulapapa- Honorable Mention
This is another position that Husky fans will be looking at with great interest. A reminder that there are only 2 spots at receiver on each team despite most offenses involving 3 these days which means there are more worthy candidates than spots. Here’s your blind resume test.
Player A: 92.1 rec yds per game, 6 rec TDs, 16.7 YPC
Player B: 98.9 rec yds per game, 7 rec TDs, 15.5 YPC
Player C: 86.7 rec yds per game, 8 rec TDs, 14.6 YPC
Player D: 85.5 rec yds per game, 7 rec TDs, 12.2 YPC
Player E: 72.3 rec yds per game, 7 rec TDs, 15.5 YPC
Player F: 85.0 rec yds per game, 8 rec TDs, 15.0 YPC
It would pretty hard to instantly disqualify anyone in that pool. Player D has the lowest yards per catch by a healthy amount but that means they have more receptions than the rest of the group. Player E has the fewest yards per game by 10. Player A has the fewest TDs. Everyone else is within 15 yards per game and all but A are within 1 TD of one another.
The actual results: A is Dorian Singer (Arizona), B is Rome Odunze (UW), C is Jalen McMillan (UW), D is Jacob Cowing (Arizona), E is Troy Franklin (Oregon), F is Jordan Addison (USC). I listed them in order of total receiving yards on the season. I put Addison on that list over Cal’s Jeremiah Hunter, ASU’s Elijah Badger, and UCLA’s Jake Bobo who each finished with more receiving yards but in 2+ more games. Mainly because Addison is going to get a bump for name recognition.
No one in the conference had more than 8 receiving touchdowns so no one makes a huge jump on the basis of touchdowns. That leaves it primarily down to yardage. Rome I think gets first team by virtue of his yards per game number. I’m expecting Dorian Singer will get rewarded for finishing 1st overall in receiving yards and 1st in yards per catch.
That leaves a jumble for the 2nd team. Troy Franklin falls off based on his yardage total even though he had so few drops and was extremely efficient. Now it comes down to McMillan, Cowing, or Addison. I have a feeling that Addison will get in on name recognition and Cowing gets hurt for being more a short yardage possession receiver rather than a downfield threat. But be mentally prepared for McMillan to be snubbed.
Prediction: Rome Odunze- 1st team, Jalen McMillan- 2nd team
The 1st team tight end is not even a discussion. Utah’s Dalton Kincaid ended up with nearly double any other tight end in yardage with 850 and had 3 more receiving touchdowns than any other tight end despite playing 11 games. The battle for 2nd team is likely between ASU’s Jalin Conyers (411 yds, 5 TD), Arizona’s Tanner McLachlan (456 yds, 2 TDs), and Stanford’s Ben Yurosek (444 yds, 1 TD). I’ll go with Conyers for the 5 TDs.
The question for Husky fans here is whether Jack Westover or Devin Culp has any shot at sneaking onto honorable mention. Westover has 73 more receiving yards than Culp on 2 more catches and they each only have 1 TD. I’m inclined to think neither here their name called but I could see Westover maybe popping up as an honorable mention.
The key thing to remember for the offensive line is they aren’t obligated to take 2 tackles, 2 guards, and 1 center. They could pick 5 tackles if they wanted to do so. The coaches probably have a better idea of who was good along the line but the rest of us have to rely on existing reputation and Pro Football Focus.
Let’s look at the top-20 offensive linemen via PFF and assume that the 10 players that make one of the teams plus most of the honorable mentions come from that bunch. Every Husky offensive lineman except for Henry Bainivalu is in that grouping. That leaves those 4 as eligible.
I’m also going to look at the preseason list and assume that if someone was viewed as a 1st teamer back this summer and still had a top-20 OL season then they’re probably going to remain on there. That means 1st team nods for Oregon’s TJ Bass, USC’s Andrew Vorhees, and UW’s Jaxson Kirkland. Kirkland of course missed the first 3 games for the Huskies and so I could easily see that disqualifying him but I’m going to lean towards his reputation carrying the day.
2nd team performers that are still in the top-20 are Oregon State’s Joshua Gray and USC’s Brett Neilon, USC’s Neilon ended up by far the highest ranked OL in the Pac-12 per PFF so he moves up to 1st team and Gray was 7th so I think it’s reasonable to move him up to 1st team as well.
The 5 highest rated players remaining per PFF would be: USC’s Jonah Monheim, Arizona’s Jordan Morgan, UCLA’s Atonio Mafi, OSU’s Taliese Fuaga, and Stanford’s Drake Nugent. The next 2 highest ranked remaining OL after that are Roger Rosengarten and Troy Fautanu. I think given what the Husky OL has done in pass blocking this year that one of the two tackles should make it in place of Jaxson Kirkland. Or one of them could easily surpass another name on this list. But in reality I don’t get to make the decisions. Hopefully I’m wrong and at least one of them gets onto at least the 2nd team.
Prediction: Jaxson Kirkland- 1st team, Roger Rosengarten- HM, Troy Fautanu- HM
It’s worth noting that things can get funky at this spot because the conference has 4 DL and 3 LB rather than any EDGE designation. Sometimes edge guys go under d-line and sometimes under linebacker. I’m expecting that we see 2 traditional defensive tackles under each, 2 edge guys, and then maybe 1 guy who gets called an OLB who ends up in the linebacker category.
For the defensive tackles the obvious candidates are: ASU’s Nesta Jade Silvera (38 tkl, 2 sk, 70.3 PFF), Zona’s Kyon Barrs (33 tkl, 0 sk, 59.1 PFF), USC’s Tyrone Taleni (10 tkl, 5 sk, 77 PFF), UW’s Tuli Letuligasenoa (22 tkl, 0 sk, 74.2 PFF), and UCLA’s Jacob Sykes (14 tkl, 2 sk, 72.1 PFF).
Barrs was on the preseason 2nd team list and was 2nd team last year so I think he keeps his spot on the 2nd team despite his low PFF grade. I’m booting UCLA’s Jacob Sykes out of that group for playing the fewest total snaps and giving Jade Silvera and Taleni the 1st team spots. That means Tuli finishes 2nd team.
Now we come to the edge spots. The other Tuli (USC’s Tuipulotu) led the conference in sacks and is a clear 1st teamer. It’s a battle between UCLA’s (and formerly UW’s) Laiatu Latu and UW’s Bralen Trice for the other 1st team spot. If one of them had a clearly more slender body type I would put them in at linebacker but that’s not the case here since they’re almost the exact same size at ~265 pounds. Last year there ended up being six 1st team DL and so I think they find a way to get both on the 1st team by opening an extra spot.
Jeremiah Martin should be a shoo-in for the 2nd team since he is 3rd in the conference in sacks and I put 1, 2, and 4 on the 1st team. There are a lot of guys in contention for the other 2nd team spot such as Oregon’s DJ Johnson, Wazzu’s Brennan Jackson, and UCLA’s Grayson Murphy but I’ll say Johnson wins out with his 6 sacks.
Prediction: Tuli Letuligasenoa- 1st team, Bralen Trice- 1st team, Jeremiah Martin- 2nd team
I already got the 2 Husky edge rushers in under the DL category so the only candidate for Washington you could even make a case for is Alphonzo Tuputala. He’s 24th though in the conference in total tackles despite his 3 sacks. I don’t think he even gets up to honorable mention but it’s not completely crazy.
My first team ends up as: WSU’s Daiyan Henley, Cal’s Jackson Sirmon (truly), and Stanford’s Stephen Herron. The latter makes it as the smallest of the edge rushers I considered for 2nd team DL. The second team is Kyle Soelle at ASU, Omar Speights at OSU, and Darius Muasau at UCLA.
Okay, seriously. Alex Cook was the only Husky defensive back to appear in every game and I’ll say he is able to squeak in with an honorable mention because he made the big stop of Nix in the Oregon game. Otherwise my predicted 1st team is: Utah’s Clark Phillips III, USC’s Calen Bullock, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, and USC’s Mekhi Blackmon. My predicted 2nd team is: Oregon State’s Ryan Cooper, WSU’s Chau Smith-Wade, Oregon State’s Jaydon Grant, and Arizona’s Jaxen Turner.
Prediction: Alex Cook- Honorable Mention
None of Giles Jackson, Cam Davis, and Jalen McMillan did enough as return specialists to warrant consideration. Anthony Gould at Oregon State gets 1st team as the only player to return any kicks or punts for TDs this year (2 punts), and his teammate Silas Bolden gets 2nd team as the top kick returner in the conference.
Punter Jack McAllister hardly ever got the chance to punt and when he did it wasn’t all that great, especially when having to follow up legend Race Porter. Wazzu gets 1st team punter and Cal gets 2nd team.
That leaves kicker Peyton Henry. Stanford’s Josh Karty likely has 1st team locked up as he went 16/16 on FG tries including 10/10 beyond 40 yards. That leaves Arizona’s Tyler Loop (18/21, 4/7 on 40+) and Peyton Henry (16/19, 4/6 40+). It’s close but I’ll give the edge to Henry with his 2 special teams player of the week awards. If he ends up honorable mention instead it won’t be a surprise though.
Prediction: Peyton Henry- 2nd team
Here’s your summary for the Huskies:
1st team- 4 (Odunze, Kirkland, Letuligasenoa, Trice)
2nd team- 4 (Penix, McMillan, Martin, Henry)
HM- 4 (Taulapapa, Rosengarten, Fautanu, Cook)
And here’s the 1st and 2nd team totals for each other team:
Arizona- 1st (1), 2nd (3)
Arizona State- 1st (2), 2nd (2)
California- 1st (1), 2nd (1)
Oregon- 1st (2), 2nd (2)
Oregon State- 1st (2), 2nd (5)
Stanford- 1st (3), 2nd (1)
UCLA- 1st (2), 2nd (2)
USC- 1st (7), 2nd (3)
Utah- 1st (2), 2nd (0)
Washington State- 1st (2), 2nd (1)
Looking over that I was shocked how few Utah guys made it. I’m guessing in reality they’ll end up with at least one offensive lineman but I think their team strength is more built on having very few actively bad players rather than many great ones. It’s possible I gave USC too much credit for name recognition with guys like Jordan Addison and Travis Dye who missed games. We’ll see how much coaches value availability versus elite performance.