Per school tradition, the rest of the team made sure the seniors didn’t have to walk off their final practice at Spaulding Field.
Here are the Bruins that made Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 teams:
1st: RB Johnathan Franklin, OL Xavier Su’a-Filo
2nd: OL Jeff Baca
3rd: WR Shaquelle Evans
1st: LB Anthony Barr
2nd: DT Datone Jones, LB Eric Kendricks
1st: P Jeff Locke
3rd: KR Damien Thigpen, PR Steven Manfro (Huh?!)
The most glaring omission is senior Fauria, who was left off despite being one of eight semifinalists for the John Mackey Award — given to the top tight end in the nation. I get that Fauria isn’t a true blocking tight end anymore, but he was tied for second in the conference with 11 touchdown receptions. Arizona State’s Chris Coyle, who got the third team nod, grabbed just five and only had 11 more yards per game (54.9 to 43.2).
On the bright side for UCLA fans, Franklin made first team with Kenjon Barner, beating out Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey. This could bode well for Franklin’s chances at the last remaining NCAA-recognized All-American list: the Football Writers Association of America releases its team later this week, and Steele is on the committee.
You can find the full list here, but let’s run through UCLA’s selections. (The awards are voted on by Pac-12 head coaches.)
First team: LB Anthony Barr, OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, P Jeff Locke
Second team: RB Johnathan Franklin, OL Jeff Baca, DL Datone Jones, David Allen on special teams
Honorable mentions: DB Andrew Abbott, OL Jake Brendel, WR Shaq Evans, TE Joseph Fauria, QB Brett Hundley, LB Eric Kendricks, DL Cassius Marsh, RS Damien Thigpen
Franklin didn’t make first team despite becoming UCLA’s new career leading rusher, but that’s what happens when you play in the same conference as Kenjon Barner. The big snub here is sophomore Eric Kendricks, who was only an honorable mention despite leading the Pac-12 with 127 tackles for 10.6 per game. ASU’s second-teamer Brandon Magee was second with 9.5 per game (104 overall), but he did have 6.5 sacks to Kendricks’ two.
Eric isn’t as explosive as his brother Mychal, who won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last year, but has a very solid all-around game. He’ll likely be good in the NFL, even if he doesn’t absolutely wreck guys weekly like Anthony Barr.
UCLA got left out of the big conference awards (listed below), but no real issues with any of these picks. Jim Mora had a very good argument for Coach of the Year, but had the tough luck of reviving a program during in a year Stanford upset Oregon without Andrew Luck. Besides, Mora has the chance for a last laugh on Friday.
Offensive Player of the Year: Marqise Lee, USC
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton, Arizona State
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Leonard Williams, USC
Coach of the Year: David Shaw, Stanford
A low-profile, but interesting award given to the nation’s best player who started his career as a walk-on. You can also vote for Andrew Abbott, which counts for five percent during each round. Finalists will be announced on Nov. 27, and the winner on Dec. 3.
Pac-12 All-Academic teams were also released yesterday. Jeff Locke (3.70, Economics) made first team for the third time, and was joined by freshman center Jake Brendel (3.60, Math/Applied Sciences). Steve Manfro (3.20, undeclared) was the Bruins’ lone representative on the second team. As announced in June, UCLA ranked third in academic progress rate among conference members.
Johnathan Franklin is one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball and Oregon’s Kenjon barner are also up for the nation’s top running back honor. The 174-member selection committee is made up mostly of journalists, along with former players and other representatives. The winner will be revealed on Dec. 6 on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Joseph Fauria wasn’t a finalist for the Mackey Award, which quarterback Brett Hundley was disappointed about. Jeff Locke wasn’t a finalist for the Ray Guy Award either, which is even more of a snub.
Eric Kendricks won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after logging eight tackles, one TFL, one forced fumble, a blocked punt and a pick against USC. He doesn’t pop as quite much as Anthony Barr when you’re watching the game, but Kendricks is so consistent across the statsheet almost every week.