Find a list of your saved stories here

Pac-12 football: The Hotline's picks for individual awards and the all-conference teams


Save Story

Save stories to read later


Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

Pac-12 head coaches voted on postseason awards and all-conference teams following the conference championship game, with the results scheduled for release on Tuesday.

The Hotline prefers to call our shots ahead of the official announcement so fans will know where the coaches got it wrong.

We're joking, mostly.

There have been instances in the past of politics intervening, with the coaches basing their votes on personal relationships or the impact results can have on recruiting — and not on performance.

(The best example: Oregon's egregious lack of representation in 2019.)

The Hotline's selections below are free of politics or bias. As with everything else, we call 'em like we see 'em.

Generally speaking, there was a slew of qualified candidates for the individual honors, reflecting the high quality of play on the field.

The best regular season in at least five years was built on first-rate coaching and quarterback play.

Coach of the Year: Washington's Kalen DeBoer.

Had USC won the championship, Lincoln Riley would have been the pick. And he deserves serious consideration anyhow — as do Utah's Kyle Whittingham, who steered the Utes to a repeat, and Oregon State's Jonathan Smith, who built a nine-game winner in Corvallis. We opted for DeBoer, a first-year coach who changed the culture on Montlake and maxed out the potential of a team that was 4-8 last season. To be clear: Any of the four are worthy.

Offensive Player of the Year: USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

Public sentiment might shift against Williams for major awards because of USC's loss in the title game. We see exactly the opposite: Williams was phenomenal on one leg Friday night and capped a season in which he took the art of total quarterbacking to a level not seen in the Pac-12 since Marcus Mariota. Any other year, Washington's Michael Penix Jr. would have been a deserving winner. And we should make special mention of UCLA's Zach Charbonnet, the most complete tailback to set foot on Pac-12 turf since Christian McCaffrey.

Defensive Player of the Year: USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu

In contrast to the categories above, this was an easy call. We have immense regard for Clark Phillips III, Utah's shutdown cornerback, but Tulipulotu was simply more impactful on a weekly basis. The third-year sophomore, who played all over the line of scrimmage, leads the nation in sacks (12.5) and tops the Power Five in tackles-for-loss (21). In the latter category, nobody in the conference is close.

Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Oregon State tailback Damien Martinez

The three-star recruit from Lewisville, Texas, who had a handful of second-tier scholarship offers from Power Five programs, played a massive role in OSU's breakthrough season. He wasn't the primary ballcarrier early but grew into the role and finished with six consecutive 100-yard games. We considered Cal tailback Jaydn Ott and Arizona receiver Tetairoa McMillan, as well.

Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Cal cornerback Jeremiah Earby

A three-star recruit from the Bay Area, Earby played to the standard set by Cal's secondary in recent years with 11 pass breakups and one interception. (He'll be a first-team all-conference pick next year.) A strong case could be made for either of two rookie linebackers, Utah's Lander Barton and Arizona's Jacob Manu, but we picked Earby because of the degree of difficulty attached to playing cornerback at a high level.

First Team

Offense

QB: USC's Caleb Williams
RB: UCLA's Zach Charbonnet
RB: Oregon State's Damien Martinez
WR: Washington's Rome Odunze
WR: USC's Jordan Addison
WR: Arizona's Jacob Cowing
TE: Utah's Dalton Kincaid
OL: Oregon's T.J. Bass
OL: Utah's Keaton Bills
OL: Oregon's Alex Forsyth
OL: USC's Andrew Vorhees
OL: Washington's Jaxson Kirkland
AP: UCLA's Kazmeir Allen

Defense

DL: USC's Tuli Tuipulotu
DL: Oregon's Brandon Dorlus
DL: UCLA's Grayson Murphy
Edge: Washington's Jeremiah Martin
LB: ASU's Kyle Soelle
LB: Oregon State's Omar Speights
LB: WSU's Daiyan Henley
CB: Utah's Clark Phillips III
CB: Oregon's Christian Gonzalez
S: Utah's Cole Bishop
S: Oregon State's Kitan Oladapo

Specialists

K: Stanford's Joshua Karty
P: ASU's Eddie Czaplicki
RS: Oregon State's Anthony Gould

Second Team

Offense

QB: Washington's Michael Penix Jr.
RB: USC's Travis Dye
RB: ASU's Xazavian Valladay
WR: Arizona's Dorian Singer
WR: Washington's Jalen McMillan
WR: UCLA's Jake Bobo
TE: ASU's Jalin Conyers
OL: Washington's Troy Fautanu
OL: UCLA's Jon Gaines II
OL: Utah's Braeden Daniels
OL: Oregon's Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu
OL: Oregon State's Jake Levengood
AP: Cal's Jeremiah Hunter

Defense

DL: Utah's Van Fillinger
DL: Arizona's Hunter Echols
DL: UCLA's Laiatu Latu
Edge: WSU's Brennan Jackson
LB: Oregon's Noah Sewell
LB: Cal's Jackson Simon
LB: USC's Eric Gentry
LB: Utah's Karene Reid
CB: Oregon State's Rejzohn Wright
CB: WSU's Chau Smith-Wade
S: USC's Calen Bullock
S: OSU's Jaydon Grant

Specialists

K: Washington's Peyton Henry
P: Cal's Jamieson Sheahan
RS: WSU's Robert Ferrel

Most recent Hotline with Jon Wilner stories

Related topics

Hotline with Jon WilnerSportsCollegeUtah Utes
Jon Wilner
Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to KSL.com through a partnership with the Bay Area News Group.

Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP Top 25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. He was named Beat Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Football Writers Association of America for his coverage of the Pac-12, won first place for feature writing in 2016 in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest and is a five-time APSE honoree. You can follow him on Twitter @WilnerHotline or send an email at jwilner@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Pac-12 Hotline: Subscribe to the Pac-12 Hotline Newsletter. Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

ARE YOU GAME?

From first downs to buzzer beaters, get KSL.com’s top sports stories delivered to your inbox weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast