Oregon Trio Earn First-Team All-Conference Honors
Dec. 2, 2002
EUGENE - Tailback Onterrio Smith, Keenan Howry and place-kicker Jared Siegel were all named first-team all-league selections as the Pacific-10 Conference unveiled this year's all-conference teams Monday from Walnut Creek, Calif.
The all-conference first team, as voted by the league's head coaches, was comprised of 25 position players and five specialists, with Washington State and Oregon State each placing five players on the first unit, followed by UCLA and USC with four each, while the Ducks and Arizona each added three standouts.
Howry, who earned first-team all-conference honors ago as both a wide receiver and return specialist, was applauded for his exploits this year as a punt returner to become one of 11 players to receive first-team attributes for a second time.
Joining the Ducks' first-team trio were six Oregon players named to the all-conference second team, including seniors Allan Amundson (kickoff returner) and David Moretti (linebacker), as well as juniors Keith Lewis (free safety), Kevin Mitchell (linebacker), Dan Weaver (center) and George Wrighster (tight end). That number was exceeded only by USC's seven second-team picks.
Smith became Oregon's first running back to earn first-team all-conference honors in three years and only the fourth since the Pac-10 expanded to a 10-team league in 1978 despite playing in only five of eight conference games this season because of injuries. Voted last week as his team's most outstanding player, the Sacramento, Calif., junior completed the regular season as the league's second-leading rusher (14th in the country), accumulating 1,079 yards rushing after averaging 133.7 yards a game as the nation's sixth-leading rusher before injuries set in during the eighth game of the year.
Howry, who finished 21st in the country (and second in the conference) in punt return average (13.37 avg.), set an Oregon career record with four punt returns for touchdowns the last two years and stands 18 yards shy of the school's all-time mark in career punt return yardage. He becomes the Ducks' first two-time first-team all-league honoree since Ricky Whittle was named a first-team pick as an all-purpose back in 1994, followed by first-team running back status in 1995.
Siegel, one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top collegiate place-kicker, becomes Oregon's first all-conference first-team selection as a sophomore in 19 years when Lew Barnes was honored as a first-team all-Pac-10 kick returner in 1983. Siegel, the league's third-leading scorer (8.7 avg.), converted 19 of 23 field goals (including 15 in a row at one point) and 47 of 48 PATs this season.
Honorable mention all-conference honors were accrued by wide receivers Samie Parker and Howry, offensive guards Joey Forster and Nick Steitz, as well as defensive tackles Haloti Ngata and Igor Olshansky. Ngata becomes Oregon's first freshman to receive any level of all-conference acclaim since cornerback Kenny Wheaton earned second-team all-league recognition as a redshirt freshman following the 1994 campaign.
Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser and USC signal-caller Carson Palmer shared honors as the league's offensive co-players of the year, Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs was chosen as the conference's defensive player of the year, Trojans' wide receiver Mike Williams as freshman of the year, while California head coach Jeff Tedford was voted the Pac-10's coach of the year.
The entire all-conference first team selections are as follows:
QB -- Jason Gesser, Sr., Washington State
QB -- Carson Palmer, Sr., USC
RB -- Onterrio Smith, Jr., Oregon
RB -- Steven Jackson, So., Oregon State
WR -- Shaun McDonald, Jr., Arizona State
WR -- Bobby Wade, Sr., Arizona
WR -- Reggie Williams, So., Washington
TE -- Mike Seidman, Sr., UCLA
OL -- Kwame Harris, Jr., Stanford
OL -- Mike Saffer, Sr., UCLA
OL -- Derrick Roche, Sr., Washington State
OL -- Jacob Rogers, Jr., USC
OL -- Calvin Armstrong, So., Washington State
DL -- Terrell Suggs, Jr., Arizona State
DL -- Eric Manning, Sr., Oregon State
DL -- Tully Banta-Cain, Sr., California
DL -- Rien Long, Jr., Washington State
LB -- Richard Seigler, Jr., Oregon State
LB -- Nick Barnett, Sr., Oregon State
LB -- Lance Briggs, Sr., Arizona
LB -- Matt Grootegoed, So., USC
DB -- Troy Polamalu, Sr., USC
DB -- Marcus Trufant, Sr., Washington State
DB -- Ricky Manning, Sr., UCLA
DB -- Dennis Weathersby, Sr., Oregon State