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Five Trojans Named All-Pac-12 First Team; Hufanga Is Pac-12 Defensive Player Of the Year

Dec 22, 2020

Pac-12 Release

LOS ANGELES — Five Trojans — quarterback Kedon Slovis, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu and safety Talanoa Hufanga — were selected to the 2020 All-Pac-12 first team, while Hufanga was named the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, the Pac-12 announced today (Dec. 22).

USC had more first team selections than any school. Hufanga becomes the eighth Trojan honored as the conference's top defensive player, joining outside linebacker Duane Bickett (1984), outside linebacker Junior Seau (1989), inside linebacker Chris Claiborne (1998), defensive tackle Shaun Cody (Co-, 2004), defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (2007), inside linebacker Rey Maualuga (2008) and cornerback Adoree' Jackson (2016).

USC also had 4 picks on the All-Pac-12 second team: wide receivers Tyler Vaughns and Drake London, outside linebacker Drake Jackson and cornerback Chris Steele.

The 7 Trojans who received All-Pac-12 honorable mention were offensive linemen Jalen McKenzie and Brett Neilon, defensive lineman Nick Figueroa, cornerback Olaijah Griffin, safety Isaiah Pola-Mao, placekicker Parker Lewis and punter Ben Griffiths.

Of USC's 16 first team, second team and honorable mention honorees, only Vaughns is a senior.

Hufanga led USC in tackles (62), interceptions (4) and forced fumbles (2) in 2020 and had 3 sacks. He ranks third nationally in interceptions (0.7) and 19th in tackles (10.3). He had an interception in 4 consecutive games this season, the first Trojan to do so since 1996. The junior is a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and was a semifinalist for the Witten Award.

Slovis completed 67.0% of his passes this year for 1,921 yards and 17 TDs and led USC to a trio comeback victories in the final 2 minutes. He leads the Pac-12 in completions (29.5, first nationally), passing yards (320.2), total offense (310.7), completion percentage and points responsible for (17.0). The sophomore moved to ninth on USC's career passing list (459 completions) and his 70.0 career completion percentage is above the school record.

St. Brown, a junior, topped the Trojans in 2020 with 41 receptions for 478 yards (11.7 average) and a Pac-12 leading 7 TDs. He is in the national Top 25 in both receptions (6.8) and TD catches. He caught 4 touchdowns in the first quarter against Washington State to tie an NCAA record, then had the game-winning TD catch with 16 seconds to play at UCLA. He is 11th on USC's all-time receptions list with 178.

Vera-Tucker, also a junior, started for his second season on the offensive line, this year moving to left tackle after spending 2019 at left guard.

Tuipulotu, a junior who started for his third season, notched 23 tackles from his nose tackle spot in 2020. He had 3.5 tackles for a loss, including 2 sacks, and also forced a fumble.

Vaughns and London each had 33 receptions with 3 touchdowns in 2020. Vaughns had 406 receiving yards (12.3 average), while soph London had a USC-best 502 receiving yards (15.2 avg). London made a game-winning 21-yard TD grab with 1:20 to play in the opener against Arizona State. Vaughns is third on Troy's career receptions list with 222. J

Jackson made 20 tackles in 2020, including 5.5 for losses (with 2 sacks), and he had an interception. Steele recorded 26 tackles, 4 pass deflections and an interception this season. Both are sophomores.

Juniors McKenzie and Neilon both started for their second seasons in 2020. Figueroa, a junior, had a breakout year, leading USC in tackles for loss (7) and sacks (3.5) while making 20 tackles. Griffin had 22 tackles, 4 pass breakups and an interception as a 2020 junior. Pola-Mao, another junior, made 40 tackles and also had a team-best 3 forced fumbles (third most in the nation and the most by a Trojan since 2009) along with 5 pass deflections and an interception. Lewis, a first-year freshman, hit 9-of-13 field goals (including a career-long 48-yarder) this season to rank 20th nationally in field goals (1.6) and also nailed all 23 of his PATs, while 22 of his 38 kickoffs were touchbacks. Sophomore Griffiths averaged 46.4 yards on his 18 punts in 2020, the highest average by a Trojan since 2003, and 9 of his boots pinned opponents within the 20-yard line.