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13 Sun Devils Land on Pac-12 All-Conference Team

Dec 7, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO  Sun Devil Football placed 13 student-athletes on the Pac-12 All-Conference Team, as announced by the league office on Tuesday.  The individual awards and the All-Pac-12 Football Team are selected by the Pac-12 head coaches.
The All-Conference selections were paced by a First Team selection in defensive lineman Tyler Johnson and five Second Team honorees. An additional seven Sun Devils earned Honorable Mention distinction, giving the program it's most All-Conference nods since the 2014 season.

Running back Rachaad White, linebacker Darien Butler, defensive lineman D.J. Davidson, and offensive linemen Kellen Diesch and Dohnovan West landed on the Pac-12 All-Conference Second Team. The five second-team picks for Arizona State were the most for the program since the 2013 season. Arizona State's six first or second team All-Conference honorees were the fourth-most in the Pac-12.  

Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, tight end Curtis Hodges, offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson, linebacker Merlin Robertson, and defensive backs Chase Lucas, Jack Jones, and DeAndre Pierce were Honorable Mention selections. 

The 13 Sun Devils on this year's list bring ASU to 463 all-time Pac-12 All-Conference selections in history. Arizona State has had double-digit All-Conference selections in each of the last three seasons under Herm Edwards.

For notes on ASU's All-Conference choices, see below:
Tyler Johnson - First Team Defensive Lineman

  • Arizona State's lone First Team All-Conference selection was a disruptive force all season.
  • Earns his second-career All-Conference honor, previously a 2020 Second Team member. 
  • Finished the 2021 campaign with 33 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks.
  • Playmaker for the Sun Devil defense, stuffing the stat sheet with a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and three pass breakups. Also had a 32-yard fumble return to inside the five-yard line.
  • The seventh-highest graded edge defender in the Pac-12 overall (76.5) and fourth among edge defenders in the league on run defense (79.6). The latter is especially notable as Johnson entered the season with a career run defense grade of 53.6
  • Had 18 stops on run defense, good for seventh among Pac-12 edge defenders
  • Led the team with 8.5 tackles for loss, bringing his career total to 29.5 while also posting 15.5 career sacks

Rachaad White – Second Team Running Back

  • One of the conference's top running backs earns the second All-Conference honor of his career (2020 Honorable Mention).
  • Reached 1,000 rushing yards for the season with his 98 yards against Arizona, finishing with 1,006.
  • White recorded 30.5 percent of ASU's total yards on offense this year (1,462 of 4,799) and 35.6 percent of ASU's total touchdowns (16 of 45).
  • It was the 26th instance of a Sun Devil running back reaching 1,000 yards in a single season and just the 9th one to do it in 11 games or less. 
  • White now has 22 touchdowns in his career (20 rushing, two receiving) in just 15 games played (1.5 per game).
  • White has at least one touchdown in 12 of his 15 games with the Devils.
  • With 15 rushing touchdowns this year, White is now tied for sixth in ASU single-season history and is currently 10th in the FBS this season
  • He has been a workhorse for ASU, third among Pac-12 running backs with 230 touches this season (187 rushing, 43 receiving - including nullified plays) - just seven off the Pac-12 lead despite missing essentially a game and a half and with Oregon's Travis Dye (237 touches) having an extra game on him. The 230 touches are 23rd among all FBS running backs
  • His 494 total snaps are good for third among Pac-12 running backs trailing only Oregon's Travis Dye (547 snaps with one extra game in the Pac-12 FCG) and UCLA's Zach Charbonnet (523) – despite White missing a game. 
  • White is the second-highest graded player, regardless of position, overall in the Pac-12 this season (90.7) and the second-highest graded running back in the FBS.
  • White has rushed for 57 first downs this season, 5th among Pac-12 backs but missing a game and a half. However, he has added 22 first downs as a receiver - seven more than any Pac-12 running back and the most of all FBS running backs.
  • He is also the highest graded running back in the league as a receiver (90.4 - second among all Pac-12 players regardless of position) and 2nd-highest graded in the category nationally among backs. 
  • His 49 targets in the passing game are second among Pac-12 backs despite his missed game (though Travis Dye's 51 comes with the Pac-12 FCG included) and 8th among running backs nationally. His 43 receptions are more than any other Pac-12 back and 6th among FBS running backs.
  • White has 452 yards after the catch (think catches behind the line of scrimmage) - just 100 more yards than any other Pac-12 back and the 4th-highest tally of any FBS running back this season.
  • White forced 44 missed tackles as a running back – 5th among Pac-12 backs – and 16 as a receiver – third among ALL FBS backs

Darien Butler – Second Team Linebacker

  • A fearless and tough leader of the Sun Devil defense earned the respect of coaches around the conference, earning Second Team honors despite missing the final two games. 
  • Was named a semifinalist for the 2021 Butkus Award, the Butkus foundation announced. Butler is one of 16 candidates for the award given to the nation's top collegiate linebacker at the FBS level.
  • He has 18 tackles for loss OR no gain, second-most in the Pac-12 and tied for 8th  among all FBS linebackers - despite missing the final two games of the year
  • Still finished second on team with 68 tackles despite missing two games while tied for the team lead with 8.5 tackles for loss – the latter of which was tied for ninth in the Pac-12 and tied for third among true linebackers
  • Tied for the team lead with three interceptions on the year – tied for fourth among FBS linebackers
  • Among the Top-50 highest graded linebackers overall in the FBS (73.1) – and tied for the third-highest graded one in the Pac-12 - and the sixth-highest graded linebacker in the FBS in coverage (87.7) (second in Pac-12)

Kellen Diesch – Second Team Offensive Lineman

  • Solidified the left tackle position since arriving in Tempe, earning All-Conference disntinction in both of his seasons as a Sun Devil (2020 Honorable Mention)
  • The ninth-highest graded overall offensive player in the Pac-12, regardless of position (86.4), and the second-highest graded tackle in the league; Third-highest graded player in the league as a pass blocker (88.2) and second among tackles; 12th-highest graded player in league on run blocking (84.1) and fifth among tackles. 
  • The 22nd-highest graded offensive lineman in the FBS overall and 14th among all FBS tackles; The eighth-highest graded offensive lineman in the FBS as a pass blocker and Top-50 among all FBS linemen as a run blocker
  • Out of 180 FBS tackles with at least 350 snaps in pass protection, Diesch gave up the fourth-fewest quarterback pressures in the nation (7) and the fewest in the Pac-12.
  • Among FBS tackles with at least 350 snap as a run blocker, Diesch received a positive grade on 17.6 percent of his snaps – 12th-most in the FBS.
  • Played a pivotal role in ASU averaging 202.3 rushing yards per game, good for 24th in the FBS and the most for a full season at ASU since 2012 (205.4) – and just the eighth time ASU has rushed for over 200 yards per game since joining the Pac-12 in 1978. 
  • Also a major reason ASU allowed just 21 sacks this year – tied for 36th-fewest in the FBS – notable as outside of 2018 (12th in FBS with only 16 allowed) and excluding the shortened 2020 season – ASU finished outside the Top-100 seven times (2012-17, 2019)  in the last decade and have not been in the Top 75 in any season since AT LEAST 2005 (when the NCAA sacks allowed records start becoming more difficult to locate).
  • ASU played 753 plays on offense this year, of which Diesch recorded 741 snaps 

D.J. Davidson - Second Team Defensive Lineman

  • One of the most dominant defenders in the league, causing opposing offensive lineman problems with his size and strength.  
  • The 20th-highest graded defender overall in the Pac-12 (76.0), regardless of position, and the third-highest graded defensive interior lineman in the league; 15th-highest graded defender in league on run defense (77.7) and tops among interior linemen
  • The 21st-highest grade defensive interior lineman in the FBS on run defense and 31st-highest graded interior lineman in the FBS on overall defense
  • Recorded 31 defensive "stops" on run defense this year, good for second in the FBS among interior linemen behind only Cincinnati's Curtis Brooks (who had the benefit of a conference championship game). 
  • Was fifth on the team with 57 total tackles – just one shy of a tie for third on the team despite playing one of the most difficult position to get tackles.
  • Credited with 48 tackles on running plays – fourth most of any FBS defensive lineman
  • One of just two Sun Devils to start all 12 games on defense 

Dohnovan West - Second Team Offensive Lineman

  • Earns a spot on an All-Conference team for the third time in his career.
  • Was an Honorable Mention selection as a freshman, First Team as a sophomore, and now Second Team as a junior.
  • Started all 12 games at the center position, paving the way for one of the most prolific rushing attacks in program history.
  • Allowed just five quarterback pressures this season, tied for third among all FBS centers (min. 300 pass block snaps)
  • The fifth-highest graded center overall in the Pac-12 (72.9) and among the top-six centers in the league in overall offensive grades, pass blocking and run blocking – one of just two Pac-12 centers to be in the Top-6 in all three categories (USC's Brett Neilon).

Chase Lucas - Honorable Mention Defensive Back

  • A Pac-12 All-Conference honoree for the third time in his career.
  • Previously selected as a Second Team Defensive Back in 2020 and 2017. 
  • Collected 34 tackles and broke up six passes this season.
  • Currently second in ASU history with 49 career starts and would tie Dexter Davis' school record of 50 with a start in the bowl game.
  • Tied for 13th among active FBS players with 34 career passes defended.
  • Targeted the most of all Pac-12 corners with at least 250 snaps in coverage at 20.0 percent but was one of just four of those corners to not allow a touchdown on the year.
  • Forced an incompletion on 11.9 percent of the targets thrown his way, seventh among Pac-12 corners 

Curtis Hodges – Honorable Mention Tight End

  • One of the most improved players on the roster is the first All-Conference tight end for the program since 2014. 
  • Set career single-game highs with four catches twice this season and his 76 receiving yard effort in a win against Stanford
  • Averaged 18.7 yards per catch – good for 20th in the FBS and second in the Pac-12 and second among all FBS tight ends
  • Had 373 yards for the season in 11 games – notable as he entered the season with just 227 over his career over four seasons and 29 games. His two touchdown receptions this year also matched his career total entering the year
  • His 373 receiving yards were fifth-most in the Pac-12 and 32nd among all tight ends in the FBS
  • Recorded a 71.8 grade as a run blocker for the season, second among Pac-12 tight ends and 32nd among FBS tight ends.  

DeAndre Pierce – Honorable Mention Defensive Back

  • Patrolled the secondary with a ball-hawking mentality, making plays all year.
  • Had two interceptions on the season, one for a touchdown and another inside the opponent 5-yard line
  • The seventh-highest graded safety in the Pac-12 (68.6) and the ninth-highest graded safety in coverage (68.4)
  • Tied for third on the team with 58 tackles
  • Targeted the sixth-lowest rate (8.1 percent on 422 coverage snaps) out of Pac-12 safeties with at least 300 coverage snaps
  • Opponents completed just 38.2 percent of their passes when targeting Pierce, easily the lowest tally of any Pac-12 safety and fourth-lowest of all safeties in the FBS (min. 300 coverage snaps)
  • Allowed just 147 yards in coverage on the year – 22nd-lowest among FBS safeties (min. 300 coverage snaps).
  • Opponent quarterbacks had a paltry 47.1 NFL QB rating when targeting Pierce – second among Pac-12 safeties and 11th among FBS safeties (min. 300 coverage snaps).
  • The only member of the Sun Devil secondary to appear in all 12 games and one of just two players to start all 12 games 

LaDarius Henderson – Honorable Mention Offensive Lineman

  • Elevated his game to help pave the way for a prolific rushing attack, earning Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week honors back in October.
  • Started all 12 games for the Sun Devils at left guard.
  • ASU played 753 plays on offense this year, of which LaDarius Henderson recorded 741 snaps
  • Henderson was the 11th-highest graded guard overall on offense in the Pac-12 (71.3)
  • Allowed just 10 quarterback pressures on the season- tied for fourth-fewest among Pac-12 offensive guards and among the Top 50 fewest among all guards in the FBS.
  • Tied for 38th among FBS guards with just one sack allowed on the year
  • Played a pivotal role in ASU averaging 202.3 rushing yards per game, good for 24th in the FBS and the most for a full season at ASU since 2012 (205.4) – and just the eighth time ASU has rushed for over 200 yards per game since joining the Pac-12 in 1978. 
  • Also a major reason ASU allowed just 21 sacks this year – tied for 36th-fewest in the FBS – notable as outside of 2018 (12th in FBS with only 16 allowed) and excluding the shortened 2020 season – ASU finished outside the Top-100 seven times (2012-17, 2019)  in the last decade and have not been in the Top 75 in any season since AT LEAST 2005 (when the NCAA sacks allowed records start becoming more difficult to locate). 

Ricky Pearsall – Honorable Mention Wide Receiver

  • Emerged as a go-to target throughout the season, making big plays in crucial situations.
  • Led the team with career highs in receiving yards (515) and touchdowns (4) while also adding a rushing touchdown AND a passing touchdown
  • Had the fifth-highest grade in the league among receivers as a run-blocker
  • Caught two touchdowns in two games, once in a massive win at UCLA and also in the season finale against Arizona
  • Against UCLA, he became the 16th Pac-12 player since 1996 to have two 50+ yard receiving touchdowns in the same game. He was only the fourth one to do it in the same quarter, with both his 65-yard and 54-yard scores coming in the second quarter   

Merlin Robertson - Honorable Mention Linebacker

  • Former Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year earns his first spot on an All-Conference team.
  • Tied for the team lead with three interceptions – including a game-sealing pick six against Washington
  • Tied for third on the team with 58 tackles on the year
  • Among Pac-12 linebackers with 400+ snaps, Robertson was the sixth-highest graded one (65.9)
  • Credited with just six missed tackles on the season – the second-fewest among all Pac-12 linebackers and a theme of his career as he had no missed tackles credited last season and only eight as a sophomore in 2019, which was also the second-fewest of all Pac-12 linebackers. 
  • Out of 114 FBS linebackers to play at least 1,500 snaps since 2018 – Robertson has missed just 24 tackles which is tied for the 16th-fewest in that time. Taking it to the next level, there are 41 FBS linebackers with 2,000+ snaps since 2018 and Robertson (2,434) is second among those with his 24 total missed tackles – just one more than USF's Dwayne Boyles who has over 300 fewer snaps (2,121).
  • Robertson's 2,434 snaps are the 11th most of all FBS linebackers since 2018

Jack Jones - Honorable Mention Defensive Back

  • A Pac-12 All-Conference selection for the second time in his career (2019 Honorable Mention)
  • Finished with 42 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a strip sack. 
  • ASU's highest graded defender this season with a score of 79.4 overall, good for 15th among all Pac-12 defenders regardless of position (min. 400 snaps). It was the fourth-highest grade among all Pac-12 corners and 33rd among all FBS corners. Recorded a grade of 78.8 in coverage on the year, fourth among Pac-12 corners and ninth among all Pac-12 players and 33rd among all FBS corners.
  • Tied for the team lead with three interceptions (also tied for first among Pac-12 corners) – including him game-sealing 87-yard pick six against rival Arizona. Also added a team-high six pass breakups on the season while forcing a team-high three fumbles.
  • Forced an incompletion on 12.5 percent of the targets thrown his way, good for 8th among all Pac-12 corners.
  • Allowed an open target percentage of just 33.9 percent of the time – seventh-lowest among Pac-12 corners.
  • Recorded eight "stops" on run defense, tied for fourth among Pac-12 corners while his four tackles for loss or no gain were tied for third.

Arizona State Sun Devils will face the Wisconsin Badgers in the first SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 30 at Allegiant Stadium. This matches the highest bowl placement (Pac-12 No. 3 team) for the Maroon & Gold since the 1996 Rose Bowl team (2007 & 2013 Holiday Bowl). Arizona State will serve as the home team in the contest.

ASU will play in its 33rd bowl game overall and make the team's ninth bowl appearance in the last 10 seasons (not counting 2020 which was the COVID-19 season in which ASU declined a bowl invitation). It will be the Sun Devils' third overall appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl and second under Herm Edwards, previously appearing back in 2011 & 2018. 
The 30th edition of the Las Vegas Bowl, the first of which with SRS Distribution as a sponsor, will be played Thursday, Dec. 30, at 8:30 PM MST (10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM Local Time) at brand-new Allegiant Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN, featuring teams from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 Conference for the first time.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the Sun Devil Athletics Ticket Office at 480-727-0000 or by clicking here.