Plenty of Talent: 5 Huskies on All-Pac-12 First Teams
Take a look at the All-Pac-12 football team and one thing sticks out: The Washington Huskies had far more talent than they let on this season, especially on defense.
As voted by the league coaches, the UW provided five first-team selections and four second-teamers, plus three honorable-mention recipients, which was far more firepower than a 7-5 club should rightly have.
Senior center Nick Harris and senior offensive tackle Trey Adams were repeat first-team choices--though Adams' second reward came three seasons later--while junior tight end Hunter Bryant earned his first All-Pac-12 selection.
On the other side of the ball, junior defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike and junior cornerback Elijah Molden were picked to the first unit as newcomers.
For second-teamers, the Huskies served up three more defenders, junior defensive lineman Ryan Bowman, sophomore defensive lineman Joe Tryon, and senior safety Myles Bryant, plus sophomore placekicker Peyton Henry.
"On the pass rush, we've been relentless and, penetration-wise, we've been doing good," said Onwuzurike of the UW defensive performance this season (speaking in the video). "We just haven't made our tackles in crucial moments."
The 6-foot-3, 293-pound Onwuzurike, who hails from the Dallas area, was a first-year starter and finished the regular season with 41 tackles, including 5 tackles for loss, 2 of which were sacks.
"I've been doing pretty good, just not getting to the quarterback as much as I wanted," the affable Texan said.
Molden, another first-year starter, ranks as the UW's leading tackler and rated as one of the Pac-12's top coverage guys. He's accumulated 70 tackles, including 5 for lost yardage, and he has 13 pass breakups and 3 interceptions.
After beating Washington State 31-13 in the Apple Cup, Molden suggested that might have been the start of something really good for the UW defense, a thought Onwuzurike echoed. The Huskies will return eight starters next season on the stop unit.
"The young guys will get better, for sure," the defensive tackle said. "I'm so impressed with Eddie (Ulofoshio) and Trent (McDuffie). They'll be greater players than they are."
Harris, a four-year starter, was as solid as ever and repeated as the All-Pac-12 center, while Adams, who started parts of five seasons while battling knee and back injuries, matched his sophomore season when he was the first-team left tackle selection.
Hunter Bryant, a hybrid receiver playing his first injury-free season in three, caught 52 passes for 825 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Adams and this Bryant both decided to skip Washington's postseason game, the Vegas Bowl against Boise State on Dec. 21, to prevent getting injured and jeopardizing their NFL chances.
For honorable mention, the Huskies had junior running back Salvon Ahmed, redshirt freshman defensive back Kyler Gordon and senior punter Joel Whitford. Gordon started early and late, but played most of the season on special teams.
Utah had the most first-team selections with eight, while Utes running back Zack Moss was Offensive Player of the Year and Kyle Whittingham was Coach of the Year.
Spokane native Evan Weaver, a California senior linebacker, was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year after leading the nation in tackles and setting a school record with 173.
USC quarterback Kedon Slovis and Oregon DL Kayvon Thibodeaux were Freshman Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.