Phil Steele, publisher of the annual college football magazine by the same name, elevated the University of Washington to a top 10 team in his latest preview edition, but he wasn't willing to single out individual Huskies for first- or second-team recognition.
Steele chose the UW as the nation's No. 9 team — the highest of any from the Pac-12. USC followed in step at 13, Utah at 15, Oregon at 19 and Arizona State at 21. He has Jimmy Lake's team edging the Ducks for the North Division title and the Trojans claiming the South.
The highest-rated Huskies were junior offensive tackle Jaxson Kirkland and junior tight end Cade Otton to Steele's All-America third team, while sophomore cornerback Trent McDuffie was selected to the fourth team.
Steele named each of these players plus sophomore linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio as first-team All-Pac-12 players.
Other Huskies to earn recognition were junior offensive guard Henry Bainivalu, picked second-team All-Pac-12, and sophomore defensive lineman Taki Taimani and freshman wide receiver Rome Odunze, both third-team, all conference choices.
On the fourth team, Steele singled out sophomore tailback Richard Newton, senior center Luke Wattenberg and junior kicker Peyton Henry.
Of the many preseason honors awarded to UW players, this is the first time Taimani, Odunze and Newton have turned up on anyone's lists.
Team-wise, Steele gives the UW its highest ranking, calling it a surprise and possibly underrated team. He picks Oklahoma to win it all, followed by Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.
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