UCLA’s All-Pac-12 selections led by … Ishmael Adams?

UCLA's Ishmael Adams, pictured breaking up a pass intended for USC's Nelson Agholor, was the lone Bruin on an All-Pac-12 first team. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

UCLA’s Ishmael Adams, pictured breaking up a pass intended for USC’s Nelson Agholor, was the lone Bruin on an All-Pac-12 first team. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

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.

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

  • Mark

    Ucla didn’t have a good season. It lost 3 conference games.

    • LTEfan

      As did Southern Cal and Arizona State.

      • Keaton

        Neither of which had to play Oregon

        • MPPBruin

          On a related note, teams shouldn’t have to play Oregon/Washington or OSU/WSU in the same season. It should be Oregon/WSU or Washington/OSU.

          • http://johnwolcottlaw.com john wolcott

            Do we factor Stanford into your idea?

      • MPPBruin


    • EncinitasBruin

      That doesn’t explain Perkins being shafted. Shouldn’t the conference’s leading rusher be first team? His stats are better than Buck Allen’s, who is on a worse team. It really makes no sense–both had the same number of 90-plus yard games (9).

      • Tommy B Low Us

        We all know perk is awesome. I hope he uses this to put a chip on his shoulder and runs circles around the pac next year.

  • ProbationU

    SC must have a really LOUSY coach if they have 5 guys on the 1st team and finish 5th in the South.

    This is a joke. Paul Perkins leads the PAC-12 in rushing and makes honorable mention? Eric Kendricks on the 2nd team? And then I see UCLA’s DB’s just get torched by Stanford and the Bruins have 3 DB’s on the 1st and 2nd team? There should be drug testing on the voters.

    • EncinitasBruin

      I can honestly say I’ve never seen a more surreal slate of P12 awards than this one. A real head-scratcher…

      • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

        (Maybe the refs moonlight as selection committee members.)

  • Gary

    This is a reflection of the season…we were good, not great. Agree with Probation, not a single DB should’ve made the 1st team, and Kendricks should be 1st team. In every game Kendricks was the most consistent linebacker on the field.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Exactly! Kendricks was just named one of four finalists for the Lott Award–so he’s considered to be one of the 4 best in the nation. Silly that he’s not 1st team P12.

  • 92104bruinfan

    “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.” Nailed it Jack. Btw, maybe the conference ought to consider having the conference team beat writers vote since you folks tend to have a good sense on how players are performing throughout the season on a conference wide basis. I’d imagine coaches have other things to worry about during the course of a season. Just a thought. Go Bruins!

  • Gary

    Ish should’ve been 1st or 2nd team as a specialist, not as a DB. Him being left off of THAT list is a joke. I’ve never seen so many teams squib kick all game just to avoid giving him the chance of a return.

  • VB

    So Paul Perkins, the leading rusher in the conference, finished behind four other running backs in the awards? Makes no sense.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Yeah, that’s a complete joke. Better stats, better team:

      Perkins 1378 yds, 6.0 ypg, 7 Tds, 9 games of 90 or more yds, from the 15th ranked team with 3 wins over top 25 teams
      Allen 1337 yds, 5.3 ypg, 9 TDs, 9 games of 90 or more yards from a #25 team with 1 win over top 25 teams


  • MPPBruin

    Kendricks being left off the first team is a sham.

    • EncinitasBruin

      One of the top 4 defensive players in the nation (according to the Lott Award Committee) and the guy doesn’t get first term in his own conf? Ridiculous.

  • Bigwoof1

    Kendricks (despite his own unselfish post) should not be anywhere but first team. I can see Jefferson and Adams as possible second teamers, as they have shown mostly consistent and some brilliant play (every DB gets beat once in a while), though I agree Ish is better suited to a special teams spot. My gripe is with Moreau, who was consistently beaten in almost every game, and never came close to his preseason hype (although these voters seemed not to notice it.) I’m hoping that next year he can regroup and improve to reach his so far unfulfilled potential.

  • Bigwoof1

    Jack, please clarify exactly who the voters were so we know which of these totally befuddled people need to be strongly recommended to a good optometrist or sports psychologist.

  • Laker Rod

    Only one freshman on either 1st or 2nd team all conference for offense and defense. The Pac-12 should expand the defense to 13 players vs 12. They have 5 DB’s but only 3 LB’s. Many teams have switched back to the 3-4. Some run 4-3 and some run 3-3-5. The 13 player is simply any position who is deserving like Kendricks. On offense they can increase to 12 also. That player could be any position for 1st team and 2nd team.