clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

End of Season Pac-12 All-Conference Picks

Laying out my selections for the position-by-position honors

2023 Pac-12 Championship - Oregon v Washington Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

Every 25% of the way through the season I’ve been keeping track of who I think deserves to make the Pac-12 All-Conference team if the season ended that day. The season is now in fact over except for bowl season. That means we are talking about our final selections before the Pac-12 announces them this week.

Note that the stats I include came from before the Pac-12 title game. I think it’s most fair to grade players based on their performance in a uniform 12-game sample. I only used outcomes of the Pac-12 title game to break ties between Washington and Oregon players.

There are a couple of differences between these teams and the one the conference actually will put out. They still use some outdated positions. There are 2 RB and 2 WR on the offense whereas I use 1 RB and 3 WR like a team in the 21st century. On defense the conference lists 4 DL, 3 LB, and 4 DB. I have it broken down into 2 DL, 2 ED, 2 LB, 3 CB, and 2 S which again is the default for most teams. The conference also has inconsistent definitions on whether a DE/OLB counts as DL or LB which makes predicting those spots challenging.

Going with 1 RB, 3 WR instead of 2 and 2 like the conference actually does.

If you want to look back at the previous version, you can find the link right here.

QUARTER-SEASON EDITION

MIDSEASON EDITION

THREE-QUARTER EDITION

*On media preseason 1st team

**On media preseason 2nd team

Quarterback

1st Team- Michael Penix Jr.** (Washington); 3,903 pass yds, 35 total TDs, 8 INT

2nd Team- Bo Nix (Oregon); 3,852 pass yds, 43 total TDs, 2 INT

Honorable Mention- Caleb Williams (USC)

I’ve had Penix at the #1 spot all year but had moved him down to 2nd team before Friday’s game with the caveat that he could reclaim the top spot if he outplayed Nix yet again. And he most certainly did. There’s still a chance in my mind that Nix ends up on the 1st team and it’s not outrageous but a 2-0 Washington record likely breaks any close tie.

What kind of odds do you think you could’ve gotten in the preseason that the reigning Heisman winner wouldn’t even make 2nd team all-conference? And yet it is completely deserved regardless of each of the trio’s relative draft status come April.

Running Back

1st Team- Bucky Irving (Oregon); 1,311 total yards, 12 total TDs, 6.5 YPC

2nd Team- Jaydn Ott** (California); 1,398 total yards, 13 total TDs, 5.5 YPC

Honorable Mention-Damien Martinez* (Oregon State), MarShawn Lloyd (USC)

The good news for everyone listed above is that the conference actually gives out a pair of 1st/2nd team nods at running back so everyone should make it on to an actual team. This is one of the hardest positions across the entire conference. We have virtually a 3-way tie between Bucky Irving, Jadyn Ott, and Damien Martinez. Each of them finished with between 1,300 and 1,400 total yards and 9-13 touchdowns. That meant splitting hairs.

I eliminated Martinez first because he had the least amount of value in the passing game this season. Then I gave Irving the nod over Martinez because he forced more missed tackles and averaged a half yard per rush better after contact. It was extremely close though. And Irving in the end is helped by me not taking into consideration the Pac-12 title game as he could never get going against Washington after getting banged up against OSU.

I also gave Lloyd the edge for the final honorable mention spot but there are strong arguments as well for both Dillon Johnson and Jonah Coleman of Arizona. Johnson in particular could end up 2nd team on the actual ballot taking into consideration what he did in the Pac-12 title game.

Wide Receiver

1st Team- Rome Odunze* (Washington); 1,326 rec yards, 13 TDs. Troy Franklin (Oregon); 1,349 rec yards, 14 TDs. Tetairoa McMillan (Arizona); 1,236 rec yards, 10 TDs.

2nd Team- Tahj Washington (USC); 963 rec yards, 6 TDs. Elic Ayomanor (Stanford); 1,023 rec yards, 6 TDs. Ja’Lynn Polk (Washington); 943 rec yards, 8 TDs.

Honorable Mention- Tez Johnson (Oregon), Kyle Williams (WSU), Xavier Weaver (Colorado)

On the other hand, the conference only rewards a pair of receivers which means that T-Mac is unfortunately going to end up on the 2nd team when we get to the final ballot. Here though it’s an easy decision. The trio of Odunze, Franklin, and (T) McMillan each surpassed 1,230 yards and the 4th place finisher barely crossed 1,000. They all deserve it but McMillan is clearly a slight notch behind the two ahead of him.

I had Ja’Lynn Polk on the 1st team at the three-quarter season mark but considering he just had consecutive games without a catch, he had to drop. The question was whether that stretch was enough to knock him all the way down to honorable mention. I ended up leaving him 2nd team but it was certainly enough to knock him down to HM on the real ballot since there are two fewer spots.

A big finish to the year by Tez Johnson of Oregon makes that last spot on the 2nd team a hotly contested race as he and Polk finished with almost identical numbers of yards and TDs. I think Polk’s role downfield as opposed to a catch and run underneath receiver is harder though (13 more contested catch opportunities) so he gets the nod.

Tight End

1st Team- Tanner McLachlan (Arizona); 502 rec yards, 4 TDs

2nd Team- Jack Velling (Oregon State); 438 rec yards, 8 TDs

Honorable Mention- Jalin Conyers (Arizona State)

This ended up being a very close race at the top between Velling and McLachlan but I gave the slight edge to McLachlan in the end due to a better pass blocking grade from PFF and 11x as many missed tackles forced (11 to 1). Jack Westover ended up finishing with the highest PFF grade (barely) of any Pac-12 tight end but the volume wasn’t quite there to justify elevating him in my mind. Conyers gets the honorable mention spot because at times down the stretch he was also having to play wildcat quarterback.

Offensive Line

1st Team- LT Jordan Morgan** (Arizona), LG Spencer Holstege (UCLA), C Jackson Powers-Johnson (Oregon), RG Tanner Miller (Oregon State), RT Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State)

2nd Team- LT Troy Fautanu* (Washington), LG Heneli Bloomfield (Oregon State), C Parker Brailsford (Washington), RG Steven Jones (Oregon), RT Ajani Cornelius (Oregon)

Honorable Mention- LT Jonah Monheim (USC), LG Wendell Moe (Arizona), C Duke Clemens (UCLA), RG Josh Carlin (UCLA), RT Roger Rosengarten (Washington)

Once again, I leaned pretty heavily on Pro Football Focus grades here since I don’t get a chance to do film study on every offensive lineman in the conference and other stats are pretty lacking.

There’s a good chance that Troy Fautanu will end up on the actual conference 1st team since they don’t stick cleanly to specific positions along the line and he was on the preseason team as well. There’s also a chance that Parker Brailsford gets snubbed since they are notorious for rewarding upper classmen along the offensive line.

Defensive Line

1st Team- Bear Alexander (USC); 48 tkl, 32 pressures, 3 sacks. Brandon Dorlus (Oregon); 18 tkl, 42 pressures, 4 sacks.

2nd Team- Joe Golden (Oregon State); 22 tkl, 20 pressures, 5 sacks. Dashaun Mallory (Arizona State); 47 tkl, 12 pressures, 1 sack.

Honorable Mention- Ricky Correia (California), Amari McNeill (Colorado)

The first team stays in place here as Alexander and Dorlus have pretty clearly been the best two interior pass rushers in the conference. They have a significant gap over the rest of the field in total QB pressures along the defensive line.

Joe Golden leads them both in sacks even though he hasn’t gotten pressure as often so he makes it on to the 2nd team. Dashaun Mallory has the 3rd highest PFF grade of any Pac-12 DL and the most stops so I bumped him up to 2nd team despite a lack of pass rush moves. Ricky Correia gets elevated to honorable mention over Stanford’s Anthony Franklin in the final edition here.

Edge Rushers

1st Team- Laiatu Latu* (UCLA); 39 tkl, 64 pressures, 14 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 INT. Jonah Elliss (Utah); 23 tkl, 41 pressures, 13 sacks, 1 forced fumble.

2nd Team- Gabriel Murphy (UCLA); 18 tkl, 44 pressures, 6 sacks. Bralen Trice* (Washington); 37 tkl, 64 pressures, 6 sacks.

Honorable Mention- Grayson Murphy (UCLA), Ron Stone Jr. (Washington State), Solomon Byrd (USC). B.J Green (Arizona State).

The conference usually lumps in edge rushers alongside defensive linemen and so I think it’s likely that the final ballot will include something like 6 edge rushers plus the 2 DL I have listed as 1st team (Dorlus and Alexander).

There’s not much of a question at the top. Latu has been the best pass rusher in the country and it’s depressing to think how dominant UW’s pass rush would’ve been if he could’ve stayed and teamed with Trice. There was an argument for dinging Jonah Elliss down to 2nd team because he missed the final 2 games of the season but you can’t really quibble with him having 4 more sacks than the 3rd place finisher on the list.

The rest of UCLA’s terrifying three-headed pass rushing monster with the Murphy twins also needs recognition and you can flip a coin which one is 2nd team and which is honorable mention. I had to reward Bralen Trice’s monster surge to finish the year by bumping him up to 2nd team over ASU’s BJ Green. He tied Latu for the national lead in QB pressures even if he didn’t actually get to the quarterback as often and missed more tackles.

Linebackers

1st Team- Edefuan Ulofoshio (Washington); 75 tkl, 3 sacks, 1 INT. Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (Oregon State); 105 tkl, 1 sack, 2 INT.

2nd Team- Jacob Manu (Arizona); 77 tkl, 6 sacks, 1 INT. Darius Muasau* (UCLA); 61 tkl, 4 sacks, 1 INT.

Honorable Mention- Karene Reid (Utah), Jeffrey Bassa (Oregon)

By season’s end, Ulofoshio ended the year with a comfortable lead across the rest of the Pac-12 in overall PFF grade as he was above average in every single defensive category. The other 1st team nod goes to Mascarenas-Arnold who led the linebackers in both tackles and interceptions which usually is good enough for 1st team consideration. EMA also had 50 stops per PFF while the next best was 38.

The 2nd team spots go to the killer M’s of Manu and Muasau. Arizona’s Jacob Manu finished 1st in among Pac-12 linebackers in sacks and 2nd in stops. There weren’t a ton of clear candidates for the last 2nd team spot so I defaulted to Muasau who was good this year but not quite as good as he was last year.

Cornerbacks

1st Team- Khyree Jackson (Oregon); 29 tkl, 2 INT, 8 PBU. Alex Johnson (UCLA); 21 tkl, 4 INT, 2 PBU. Tacario Davis (Arizona); 26 tkl, 1 INT, 13 PBU.

2nd Team- Jabbar Muhammad** (Washington); 41 tkl, 3 INT, 1 sack, 9 PBU. Christian Roland-Wallace (USC); 44 tkl, 2 INT, 8 PBU. John Humphrey (UCLA); 34 tkl, 2 INT, 3 PBU.

Honorable Mention- Treydan Stukes (Arizona), Travis Hunter (Colorado), Ed Woods (Arizona State)

There are 5 players who easily could be on the 1st team and I wouldn’t really have any problem with it. All of them either have at least 4 interceptions or else 10 combined INTs/PBUs. The one odd man out for me is Humphrey who was the clearest choice for 2nd team. Then it got tough.

I ultimately left Jabbar Muhammad and Christian Roland-Wallace on the second team. Muhammad had several amazing games and several games where he struggled. The missed tackles were the differentiator for me has he had 6 more than anyone else I was considering for that 1st team spot. CRW for USC loses out partly because I’m punishing him for USC’s overall defensive struggles even though he was one of their best players.

Travis Hunter gets onto the honorable mention as I felt he needed to be recognized despite his games missed. I’m not including an “all-purpose” category but he’ll certainly be 1st team in the actual ballot.

Safeties

1st Team- Jaden Hicks (Washington State); 81 tlk, 3 sacks, 2 INT. Kitan Oladapo* (Oregon State); 67 tkl, 2 sack, 6 PBU.

2nd Team- Cole Bishop* (Utah); 59 tkl, 3 sacks, 2 INT. Calen Bullock* (USC); 63 tkl, 2 INT, 7 PBU.

Honorable Mention- Evan Williams** (Oregon), Sam Lockett III (Washington State)

The Safety position is dominated by the Pac-2. Hicks and Oladapo finish as my 1st teamers as each had excellent seasons. Oladapo in particular is someone that PFF absolutely loves and finished as by far the highest graded Pac-12 safety in their accounting. Meanwhile, Hicks topped the groups in tackles and was 2nd in sacks.

That means the 2nd team is dominated by CBs even if this is the S position. Cole Bishop and Calen Bullock were the expected 1st team in the preseason and they were both very good this year but finish just a notch below.

***********

Final Totals by Team

Previous edition ranks in parentheses next to team name

(listed in order of 3 pts for 1st team, 2 for 2nd, 1 for HM)

1st- Oregon (4, 1, 1)- 24 pts. 1st (5), 2nd (3), HM (3)

2nd- Washington (2, 3, 2)- 20 pts. 1st (3), 2nd (5), HM (1)

3rd- Oregon State (8, 6, 2)- 19 pts. 1st (4), 2nd (3), HM (1)

4th- UCLA (1, 2, 4)- 18 pts. 1st (3), 2nd (3), HM (3)

4th- Arizona (7, 4, 6)- 18 pts. 1st (4), 2nd (2), HM (2)

6th- USC (10, 6, 5)- 13 pts. 1st (1). 2nd (3), HM (4)

7th- Utah (5, 5, 7)- 6 pts. 1st (1), 2nd (1), HM (1)

7th- Washington State (3, 8, 9)- 6 pts. 1st (1), 2nd (0), HM (3)

9th- Arizona St (12, 12, 7)- 5 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (1), HM (3)

10th- Colorado (6, 9, 10)- 3 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (0), HM (3)

10th- California (9, 9, 12)- 3 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (1), HM (1)

12th- Stanford (11, 11, 10)- 2 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (1), HM (0)