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. Continue reading
The Pac-12 will announce its all-conference football teams tonight at 8 p.m. PT, part of the league’s effort to build its television presence.
Instead of the customary press release, the teams will be revealed during the Pac-12 Football Weekly program on Pac-12 Networks. Players of the year and coach of the year will be announced beforehand.
UPDATE: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, while Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright picked up top defensive honors. Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez won Coach of the Year.
Ducks tailback Royce Freeman and USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson were named the conference’s top freshmen on offense and defense, respectively.
An injury-riddled UCLA baseball team just finished with its worst record in nearly a decade, but the Pac-12 still recognized some of the team’s top talent.
Three Bruins earned spots on the 32-man All-Pac-12 team, including closer David Berg, who became the fifth UCLA player to make three all-conference teams. He joins Dennis Delany (1976-78), Garrett Atkins (1998-2000), Trevor Bauer (2009-11), and Adam Plutko (2011-13).
Berg struggled with injuries this spring after making 101 appearances through his first two seasons at UCLA, but still recorded a 1.50 ERA and 11 saves through 31 outings.
Also honored on the all-conference squad were starting pitcher James Kaprielian and catcher Shane Zeile. Kaprielian was 14th in the country with 108 strikeouts, while Zeile led the team by batting .324 with 70 hits and 28 RBI.
After losing several key players before the season even started, UCLA lost 10 straight games in May and finished 25-30-1 overall and placed ninth (12-18) in the Pac-12. It was the team’s worst record since 2005, when head coach John Savage debuted with a 15-41 (4-20) campaign.
Talk about versatility. Today, UCLA’s Myles Jack was named both Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Freshman Player of the Year — becoming the first to take both since the awards were introduced in 2008.
The linebacker/running back earned a starting spot on defense by the Bruins’ second game, and finished the season tied for fourth on the team with 70 tackles. His 10 pass breakups ranked second in the Pac-12, and first nationally among linebackers. Continue reading