The Pac-12 announced the all-conference teams and awards this season and several Huskies saw their names featured. The only person from Washington to be recognized in the award categories was Coach Kalen DeBoer who was named co-coach of the year along with Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith. Both surpassed expectations and were able to beat their rival Oregon in the last few games of the year to end up in the top-15 nationally.
Across the rest of the award ballot USC QB Caleb Williams won OPOY. That was not a surprise given that Williams is the favorite to win the Heisman. USC also had the DPOY in Tuli Tuipulotu which again was not a surprise since he led the country in sacks this year with 12.5. Oregon State RB Damien Martinez won Offensive Freshman of the Year after rushing for nearly 1,000 yards. The DFOY went to Utah LB Lander Barton. No Huskies were nominated for either of the freshman awards.
Four Washington players ended up on the 1st team: WR Rome Odunze, OG Jaxson Kirkland, EDGE Bralen Trice, and EDGE Jeremiah Martin.
An additional quartet of Huskies made the 2nd team: QB Michael Penix Jr., OT Troy Fautanu, S Alex Cook, and K Peyton Henry.
Those 8 players selected between the 2 teams tied with USC and Oregon State for the most of any school. Utah and Oregon each had 6 representatives.
Last week I ran through my predictions for the all-conference team and while I got the total number of UW players on each team correct, I was slightly off on the margins. All but one of the 1st team selections were as I expected. UW’s Trice and Martin plus USC’s Tuipulotu and UCLA’s Latu were the 4 best Edge players in the conference all season and in order to get them all on the 1st team they essentially excluded any nose tackle in the “DL” category. That threw off my prediction of Tuli Letuligasenoa as a 1st teamer (more on him later). Jaxson Kirkland didn’t have the best year of UW’s offensive linemen and missed 3 games but he had the best name recognition and was good enough to keep his 1st team spot.
I was concerned that UW’s fantastic tackle duo of Troy Fautanu/Roger Rosengarten might both get snubbed in favor of more established names but Fautanu made it on 2nd team. I also though WR Jalen McMillan was clearly deserving of at least 2nd team all-conference honors but he was merely listed as an honorable mention as it appears they didn’t want to reward 2 receivers on the same team.
Here are McMillan’s numbers against 1st teamer Jordan Addison (USC) and 2nd teamer Troy Franklin (Oregon).
McMillan: 86.7 rec yards per game, 8 rec TDs, 14.6 YPC, 12 games played
Addison: 85.0 rec yards per game, 8 rec TDs, 15.0 YPC, 9 games played
Franklin: 72.3 rec yards per game, 7 rec TDs, 15.5 YPC 12 games played
On the defensive side of the ball only safety Alex Cook made the 2nd team. I thought he would only get honorable mention status but he was the only member of the UW secondary to appear in all 12 games and his counting stats were enough to get him there despite his struggles in coverage at time. It’s great recognition for Cook who came back for a 6th year having faced a position change and 2 coaching changes in his UW tenure. Kicker Peyton Henry also ended his time at UW with 2nd team recognition after several big late kicks to win close games over ranked teams this season.
The honorable mention list included: OG Henry Bainivalu, LB Cam Bright, OC Corey Luciano, WR Jalen McMillan, RB Wayne Taulapapa, ED Zion Tupuola-Fetui, LB Alphonzo Tuputala, and S Asa Turner.
That list of honorable mentions always is longer than you expect and so there were 4 more Huskies than I predictd and the makeup was different. I got the pick right of Taulapapa while McMillan slid from 2nd team in my guesses and Fautanu/Cook were elevated up to 2nd team. I didn’t have them on my initial list but all of Bainivalu, Bright, Luciano, ZTF, Tuputala, and Turner ended up getting to honorable mention.
The 2 names that absolutely should have been on the list somewhere were DL Tuli Letuligasenoa and OT Roger Rosengarten. It appears that the DL section was almost entirely filled by edge rushers which explains Tuli falling off 1st/2nd team but he still should’ve been honorable mention. He finished 3rd among UW defensive starters with a 73.1 PFF grade. Meanwhile Roger Rosengarten was 9th among all Pac-12 OL in PFF grade and was not among the 27 linemen recognized. The OL voting often goes by seniority but this was a major snub for Rosengarten regardless.
Here are the 1st and 2nd team totals for each team:
Arizona- 1st (0), 2nd (1)
Arizona State- 1st (1), 2nd (1)
California- 1st (1), 2nd (1)
Oregon- 1st (3), 2nd (3)
Oregon State- 1st (4), 2nd (4)
Stanford- 1st (1), 2nd (2)
UCLA- 1st (2), 2nd (2)
USC- 1st (5), 2nd (3)
Utah- 1st (4), 2nd (2)
Washington- 1st (4), 2nd (4)
Washington State- 1st (1), 2nd (3)