Pac-12 well represented on Phil Steele preseason All-American team
Esteemed college football writer Phil Steele released his preseason All-American team today, and the Pac-12 has 20 players on it, good for second most of any conference behind the 27 of the SEC. Seven of those 20 Pac-12ers are first-team selections, also the second-highest conference total behind the SEC's nine.
He might have been the nation's leading rusher in 2012, but Ka'Deem Carey couldn't quite crack the first team running back corps (there are two tailbacks on each of Phil Steele's four teams). Carey, however, did take home second-team preseason All-American honors as the only Wildcat on the list.
No surprise here -- defensive tackle Will Sutton is a first-teamer. He's the only Sun Devil to crack Steele's top 120, but that Fork defense should be pretty formidable as Arizona State looks to make a run at the Pac-12 South in 2013.
The Ducks were one of seven teams to place at least four dudes on the list, headlined by De'Anthony Thomas being named a first-team running back. Now that Kenjon Barner is gone, the Black Mamba should see more touches out of the backfield for Mark Helfrich's offense. If his 2012 average of 7.6 yards per carry is any indication, that's a very good thing. Also earning recognition were cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (second team), center Hroniss Grasu (third team) and long snapper Drew Howell (second team).
Guess which third team Steele All-American paints his toenails the color of his opponent before games? If you said "Brandin Cooks", you'd be a winner (he reveals this on a very good Pac-12 Podcast you should check out). Cooks was one of two Beavs to earn Steele accolades, with defensive end Scott Crichton (third team) being the other.
The Card landed the most fellas on this list from the Pac-12 with five guys, and I'm not talking about a delicious cheeseburger. I'm talking about guys like offensive guard David Yankey and safety Ed Reynolds, both of whom received first-team nods. Chase Thomas might not be walking through that Stanford Stadium tunnel anymore, but linebackers Trent Murphy (second team) and Shayne Skov (third team) will make sure there's a #partyinthebackfield for opposing offenses. The other Shaw of sunset to make the list was safety Jordan Richards, a fourth-teamer. Stanford's five selections are tied with THE Ohio State University for second most by any school, trailing only Alabama (of course).
Count UCLA among the six Pac-12 teams that placed a guy on the first team thanks to linebacker Anthony Barr. The senior earned second-team AP All-American honors as a junior in 2012 after leading the Bruins with 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. Not bad for a guy who started out at UCLA as a running back. Also getting some Phil Steele pub from Moraville was guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, who took down third-team hype.
Like the Quacks, the Trojans landed a fantastic four on the list of 120. Leading the charge out of Troy was first-team wide receiver Marqise Lee, the Pac-12 record-setter for receiving yards in a game who also caught a cool 118 passes in 2012. He's not the only weapon on that offense, though, as former Nittany Lion and Steele 2013 preseason fourth-teamer Silas Redd returns to the USC backfield for another go, while defensive end Morgan Breslin (third team) and linebacker Hayes Pullard (fourth team) take care of the defensive preseason All-Americans for Lane Kiffin.
Last but only least because we're going alphabetical by school here is Husky tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a preseason first-team All-American in the eyes of Phil Steele. The super-athletic Seferian-Jenkins (or ASJ, if you like) has set school career records for receptions by a tight end, receiving yards by a tight end and touchdown grabs by a tight end. Oh yeah, did I mention it only took him two years to do so?