Dorrell Pac-12 Coach of the Year; Buffs Place 12 On All-League Team
BOULDER — A dozen University of Colorado football players made the various All-Pac-12 Conference football teams, with their head coach also earning special recognition, the league office announced Tuesday.
First-year head coach Karl Dorrell was named the Pac-12's Coach of the Year, presented by Nextiva, and sophomore tailback Jarek Broussard earned the league's Offensive Player of the Year, also presented by Nextiva.
Broussard also earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors, and was joined by inside linebacker Nate Landman, who made the top team for the second straight year.
Dorrell is the sixth Colorado coach to earn the conference coach of the year honor, joining Dal Ward (1956, Big Seven), Eddie Crowder (1965, Big Eight), Bill McCartney (1985, 1989, 1990 Big Eight), Gary Barnett (2001, 2004 Big 12) and Mike MacIntyre (2016, Pac-12). On Monday, he was named as one of nine finalists for the FWAA/Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award. It's the second time he's been afforded the Pac-12 honor, as he was co-coach of the year in 2005 when at UCLA.
The Buffaloes started 4-0 under Dorrell, as only Harry Heller (won his first seven in 1894), Willis Kleinholtz (six in 1905), T.W. Mortimer (five in 1900) and Rick Neuheisel (five in 1995) won as many or more to open their CU careers (Dorrell was the offensive coordinator on Neuheisel's staff). Dorrell was the sixth CU coach to open 3-0 in conference games, but the first since Jim Yeager in 1941.
Of the 23 new head coaches in 2020, he was the last of the group who was undefeated through games of Dec. 6. He is the third CU head coach to lead the Buffs to a bowl game in his first season, joining Neuheisel ('96 Cotton) and Gary Barnett ('99 Insight.com). And he is the first CU coach in his first season to have his team go from unranked in the preseason to ranked (No. 21 AP, No. 22 USAT/Coaches on Dec. 6; No. 21 CFP on Dec. 8), leading a team that many prognosticators were saying would win maybe one if any games (the over/under in Vegas was 1½ wins).
"I am honored, but as I have said, it's really a team award," Dorrell said. "It all starts with a great coaching staff and then players who are coachable and buy into what we want to accomplish, which is to get this program into a better position. I am appreciative and honored by the recognition, but honors such as these are truly a team effort."
Broussard literally joins a "Who's Who" of Buffaloes who have been honored with conference player of the year honors on offense. The sixth player to be recognized with the award, he was preceded by quarterback Darian Hagan (1989), tailback Eric Bieniemy (1990), receiver Charles E. Johnson (1993), tailback Rashaan Salaam (1994, his Heisman Trophy year) and tailback Chris Brown (2002, Big 12).
Broussard led the Pac-12 in rushing during the regular season, averaging 162.6 yards per game, with his 175.6 average for all-purpose yards also a league best. Only the fourth player to gain 100 or more yards in his first four career games in the NCAA Division I-A/FBS since 1996, he is the first Buffalo running back to earn first-team all-conference honors since Brown in 2002 (Big 12). He is one of 14 finalists for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award, as he missed the last two full seasons after undergoing two ACL surgeries on the same knee.
Landman becomes the first Buffalo to repeat as a conference first-teamer since CU joined the league in 2011, and is the first to do overall since offensive tackle Nate Solder garnered first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2009 and 2010. He's the first inside linebacker to repeat in successive years since Matt Russell was All-Big Eight in 1995 and then All-Big 12 in 1996. He led the team in tackles with 61 (49 solo), the third straight year he topped CU's stat sheet in tackles, joining fellow inside 'backers Barry Remington (1984-86) and Greg Biekert (1990-92) as the only players in school history to lead the Buffs three straight seasons.
Four Buffaloes earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors, defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson, quarterback Sam Noyer, offensive tackle Will Sherman and special teams (all-purpose/non-return) performer Jaylon Jackson. Six additional Buffs were recognized as honorable mention selections: offensive tackle Frank Fillip, defensive end Terrance Lang, safety Isaiah Lewis, offensive guard Casey Roddick, returner Dimitri Stanley and outside linebacker Carson Wells.
In addition, two Buffaloes were honorable mention for the freshman player of the year honors: receiver/returner Brenden Rice for the offensive honor and cornerback Christian Gonzalez for the defensive nod.
Of the 12 Buffaloes honored, only Johnson, Landman and Noyer are seniors; all three do have the option to return in 2021 if they desire due to the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility for those seniors who would have otherwise exhausted their eligibility limit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Associated Press team will be revealed later this week on Christmas Day; the first team of several other organizations that cover college football came out Monday. The Bay Area News Group also had Broussard and Landman on its first team, but also acknowledged Wells, the nation's leader in tackles for losses per game, as a first-teamer. It also had Johnson and Sherman on its second-team and made Dorrell and Broussard the recipients of the same "of-the-year" honors afforded by the conference.