UCLA QB Josh Rosen named Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) had three turnovers in Saturday's loss to USC, but still finished as the Pac-12's best offensive freshman. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) had three turnovers in Saturday’s loss to USC, but still finished as the Pac-12’s best offensive freshman. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was named the Pac-12’s Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, an unsurprising development given his stellar first season behind center for the Bruins.

On the way to completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions, Rosen also set a school record by throwing 245 consecutive pass attempts without a pick. He also set a new UCLA single-game mark with 34 completions against Cal on Oct. 22.

USC linebacker Cameron Smith was the conference’s top defensive freshman, while Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner were named Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.

Stanford’s David Shaw and Washington State’s Mike Leach shared the league’s top coaching honor.

Earlier on Tuesday, UCLA placed nose tackle Kenny Clark on the All-Pac-12 first team, as well as seven other players on the second team.

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Kenny Clark leads UCLA with All-Pac-12 first team selection

UCLA nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) was the Bruins' lone representative on the All-Pac-12 first team. He also caught at touchdown pass in UCLA's season-opening 34-16 win against Virginia. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) was the Bruins’ lone representative on the All-Pac-12 first team. He also caught at touchdown pass in UCLA’s season-opening 34-16 win against Virginia. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Through most of the season, nose tackle Kenny Clark looked like UCLA’s best player. Pac-12 coaches agreed.

When the All-Pac-12 teams were announced Tuesday, Clark was the Bruins’ sole first-team representative on offense, defense, or special teams. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound junior was second on the team with seven tackles for loss, showed off his development as a pass rusher by notching his first five career sacks.

UCLA placed several more players on the second team. On offense, running back Paul Perkins, center Jake Brendel and left tackle Conor McDermott all earned spots. Linebacker Deon Hollins and defensive backs Randall Goforth and Jaleel Wadood filled in for the defense.

Receiver Jordan Payton, linebacker Aaron Wallace, and cornerback Marcus Rios were honorable mentions.

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising part of the all-conference selections was Ka’imi Fairbairn settling for being a second-team specialist. The kicker became the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer this season, hit a school-record 60-yard field goal, and is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award. Throw in his respectable 20 of 23 conversion rate on field goals, and he seemed like a shoe-in on the first team.

Instead, Pac-12 coaches voted for Aidan Schneider. The Oregon sophomore was slightly more accurate at 20 of 22, but hadn’t attempted a field goal longer than 41 yards. Fairbairn’s three misses have come from 47, 49 and 50 yards.

See the full All-Pac-12 teams below: Continue reading

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UCLA lands three on Phil Steele’s preseason All-American teams

Myles Jack is one of three UCLA players on Phil Steele's preseason All-American list. The linebacker is pictured during UCLA's "Spring Showcase" at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Myles Jack is one of three UCLA players on Phil Steele’s preseason All-American list. The linebacker is pictured during UCLA’s “Spring Showcase” at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Three UCLA players received spots on Phil Steele’s preseason All-American teams, the annual list released on Monday morning.

Linebacker Myles Jack earned a second-team nod, while nose tackle Kenny Clark and center Jake Brendel made the fourth team. Jack and Clark are the Bruins’ two most talented defensive players, and both are likely bound for the NFL draft after their junior seasons. Brendel, a redshirt senior, is a fourth-year starter who has played in 39 of 40 possible games.

Six Bruins landed on Steele’s preseason All-Pac-12 first team, although Brendel settled for a second-team spot behind USC center Max Tuerk — a preseason first-team All-American. In addition to Jack and Clark, the first team included receiver Jordan Payton, offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch, defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, and cornerback Fabian Moreau.

The most notable absence on the list is left tackle Conor McDermott. The 6-foot-9 lineman started the last seven games of the 2014 season, and projects to be the most important player on the offensive line besides Brendel.

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UCLA’s John Savage wins his first Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor

UCLA coach John Savage is surrounded by players as he hoists the College World Series championship trophy on June 25, 2013. (Eric Francis/AP)

UCLA coach John Savage is surrounded by players as he hoists the College World Series championship trophy on June 25, 2013. (Eric Francis/AP)

Even UCLA’s most accomplished baseball coach can break new ground. On Wednesday, John Savage was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the first time.

Savage had been named national coach of the year by multiple publications in 2013, following the Bruins’ first and only College World Series title. However, the conference’s top honor had eluded him until his 11th season in Westwood, one during which UCLA set a school record with 22 wins in league play.

The Bruins, who lead all Division I teams with a 2.16 ERA, earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament on Monday and will host a regional this weekend. Their first game is against Cal State Bakersfield at 8 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Closer David Berg (7-1, 0.73 ERA) was also named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, becoming the only Bruin to earn the honor twice in his career. Continue reading

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Norman Powell named UCLA’s only All-Pac-12 first team member

Norman Powell (4) goes for a steal during UCLA's 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23. Powell finished the regular season leading the Bruins in points (16.3) and steals (60), and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

Norman Powell (4) goes for a steal during UCLA’s 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23. Powell finished the regular season leading the Bruins in points (16.3) and steals (60), and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

Norman Powell blossomed into UCLA’s go-to option in his final season as a Bruin, and was rewarded with a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team. The 6-foot-4 guard led his team in scoring, steals and free throw attempts, and ranked third in rebounds and assists.

Powell was also a conference all-defensive honorable mention for the second year in a row. UCLA had landed multiple players on the All-Pac-12 first team in three of the last four seasons.

Freshman Kevon Looney, who averaged 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds, didn’t make the 10-member first team but earned a second-team nod. Sophomore point guard Bryce Alford was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention, rounding out a relatively unsurprising showing for the Bruins in the postseason awards.

The big shocker came in Joseph Young winning Pac-12 Player of the Year, becoming the first Oregon player to do so since Luke Ridnour in 2003. Young led the conference with 19.8 points per game, but isn’t as well-rounded a player as Arizona’s T.J. McConnell or Utah’s Delon Wright — two players who were the presumptive frontrunners for the league’s top individual honor.

It certainly helped Young’s case that Oregon won nine of its last 10 games to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. Head coach Dana Altman was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.

See the full list of All-Pac-12 honors below: Continue reading

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