The Pac-12 has announced its major awards for the 2014 season, as voted on by conference coaches:
- Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
- Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Scooby Wright III, LB, Arizona
- Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
- Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
- Coach of the Year: Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
I wouldn’t object to any of those selections, though I do believe that the Huskies’ Danny Shelton, Shaq Thompson and Hau’oli Kikaha deserved consideration as defensive player of the year. You could have made a strong case for Budda Baker as freshman defensive player of the year, too.
In some ways, Shelton, Thompson and Kikaha probably canceled each other out. Of the three, you could’ve made a stronger case for Shelton, in my opinion; his 89 tackles are second on the team and he also had nine sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and four fumble recovers — which are all the more impressive considering he weighs 339 pounds and is often double-teamed. His consistency in the middle of the line made life easier for the rest of the UW defense.
In the end, Wright made sense. His numbers (139 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles) are impressive, and Arizona will play for the Pac-12 title on Friday.
Thompson and Kikaha had special seasons, no doubt, and I expect them to join Shelton on the all-Pac-12 first team, which will be announced at 8 p.m. today on the Pac-12 Networks.