Another round of All-Pac-12 awards, another chorus of approval from across the conference.
Just kidding. As always, postseason honors generate a good amount of chatter, as fans of every team ask why their favorite players were snubbed. But even considering that type of bias, UCLA’s placements on the all-conference teams on Tuesday night were … particularly eye-raising. (You can see the full results, as voted on by Pac-12 head coaches, at the bottom of this post.)
The biggest surprise was Ishmael Adams’ status as the Bruins’ lone first-team pick. Five defensive backs were featured instead of the usual four due to ties, but the scrappy 5-foot-8 cornerback might not even be the best on his own team. The problem is consistency. He made his share of big plays — he returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season — but also saw moments where he gave up key catch or committed a costly penalty.
His presence on the All-Pac-12 first team was even more striking considering the absence of linebacker Eric Kendricks, who recently broke the Bruins’ all-time tackles record. The senior settled for a second-team spot, behind Arizona’s Scooby Wright — the league’s defensive MVP — and Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha and Shaq Thompson.
It was tough competition. Wright led the country in forced fumbles (6) and tackles for loss (27), and tied Kendricks for the conference lead in tackles (139). Kikaha led the country with 18 sacks. Thompson scored four defensive touchdowns, and is probably the best pro prospect in the group.
But Thompson also didn’t play defense for parts of the season while on running back duty. Kendricks was the rock who led UCLA in tackles every single game, and had three interceptions — returning one of those picks to the end zone. Perhaps, if we’re all lucky, the conference will consider expanding the All-Pac-12 team to four linebackers, to better reflect the proliferation of 3-4 schemes.
Some people are upset that I made second team PAC12. Please don't be upset! I've been the underdog my entire life. I just love playing.
— Eric Kendricks (@EKLA6) December 3, 2014
UCLA did land five other names on the defensive second team: defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, nose tackle Kenny Clark, linebacker Myles Jack, defensive back Anthony Jefferson and cornerback Fabian Moreau.
No Bruins made the offensive first team. Brett Hundley was the second-team quarterback behind Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Marcus Mariota. Center Jake Brendel also earned a nod. But conference-leading rusher Paul Perkins didn’t, as more Pac-12 coaches voted for Utah’s Devontae Booker and Buck Allen (first team), and Arizona State’s D.J. Foster and Oregon’s Royce Freeman (second team).
Booker, Allen and Foster edged out Perkins in all-purpose yards, while Freeman led the Pac-12 with 16 rushing touchdowns.
Besides Perkins, UCLA’s honorable mentions were right tackle Caleb Benenoch, right guard Scott Quessenberry, left guard Alex Redmond, defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, inside receiver Thomas Duarte, wide receiver Jordan Payton, safety Jaleel Wadood, and linebacker Ryan Hofmeister — who earned his spot for his special teams play.
See the full 2014 All-Pac-12 football teams below:
Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Adoree’ Jackson, DB, USC
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
Coach of the Year: Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
First Team Offense
QB, Marcus Mariota, Jr., Oregon (3)
RB, Javorius Allen, Jr., USC
RB, Devontae Booker, Jr., Utah RB
WR, Nelson Agholor, Jr., USC
WR, Jaelen Strong, Jr., Arizona State
TE, Pharaoh Brown, Jr., Oregon
OL, Jamil Douglas, Sr., Arizona State
OL, Jake Fisher, Sr., Oregon
OL, Hroniss Grasu, Sr., Oregon (3)
OL, Andrus Peat, Jr., Stanford
OL, Max Tuerk, Jr., USC
First Team Defense
DL, Henry Anderson, Sr., Stanford
DL, Nate Orchard, Sr., Utah
DL, Danny Shelton, Sr., Washington
DL, Leonard Williams, Jr., USC (2)
LB, Hau’oli Kikaha, Sr., Washington
LB, Shaq Thompson, Jr., Washington
LB, Scooby Wright III, So., Arizona
DB, Ishmael Adams, So., UCLA
DB, Su’a Cravens, So., USC
DB, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Sr., Oregon (3)
DB, Damarious Randall, Sr., Arizona State
DB, Jordan Richards, Sr., Stanford
First Team Specialists
PK, Andy Phillips, So., Utah
P, Tom Hackett, Jr., Utah (2)
RS, Kaelin Clay, Sr., Utah
AP/ST, Shaq Thompson, Jr., Washington
Second Team Offense
QB, Brett Hundley, Jr., UCLA
RB, D.J. Foster, Jr., Arizona State
RB, Royce Freeman, Fr., Oregon
WR, Vince Mayle, Sr., Washington State
WR, Nelson Spruce, Jr., Colorado
TE, Austin Hooper, So., Stanford
OL, Jake Brendel, Jr., UCLA
OL, Steven Gurrola, Sr., Arizona
OL, Nick Kelly, Jr., Arizona State
OL, Kyle Murphy, Jr., Stanford
OL, Jeremiah Poutasi, Jr., Utah
Second Team Defense
DL, DeForest Buckner, Jr., Oregon
DL, Kenny Clark, So., UCLA
DL, Owamagbe Odigihizuwa, Sr., UCLA
DL, Dylan Wynn, Sr., Oregon State
LB, Myles Jack, So., UCLA
LB, Eric Kendricks, Sr., UCLA
LB, A.J. Tarpley, Sr., Stanford
DB, Erick Dargan, Sr., Oregon
DB, Troy Hill, Sr., Oregon
DB, Anthony Jefferson, Sr., UCLA
DB, Fabian Moreau, Jr., UCLA
DB, Steven Nelson, Sr., Oregon State
Second Team Specialists
PK, Zane Gonzalez, So., Arizona State
P, Drew Riggleman, Jr., Arizona
RS, Ty Montgomery, Sr., Stanford
AP/ST, Charles Nelson, Fr., Oregon
JuJu Smith, Fr., USC