A dozen Cougar football players were recognized on the Pac-12’s All-Conference teams Tuesday afternoon and it may just be the start of what could be a banner day for the Washington State program.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew and left tackle Andre Dillard, the duo that will be representing WSU at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January, won All-Pac-12 first team honors on offense, while right tackle Abraham Lucas earned second team offensive honors and defensive lineman Logan Tago received second team defensive honors.
Then eight more Cougars were named honorable mention, rounding out the largest batch of WSU players honored by the conference since 2003.
On the honorable mention list were punter Oscar Draguicevich, linebacker Peyton Pelluer, return specialist Travell Harris, linebacker Jahad Woods, center Fred Mauigoa, running back James Williams, special teams player Kainoa Wilson and safety Jalen Thompson.
At 5 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks, the conference will announce its players of the year – offensive POY, defensive POY, freshman offensive POY and freshman defensive POY – in addition to its coach of the year.
Minshew, who leads the nation in passing yards per game and won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Monday, is thought to be a runaway favorite for Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. Leach, who lead the Cougars to their highest win total since 2002 after being picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North, is a candidate for Coach of the Year.
A fifth-year graduate transfer from East Carolina, Minshew led the Pac-12 in passing yards (4,477), passing yards per game (373.1), touchdown passes (36) and total offense (381.7). Luke Falk, Minshew’s predecessor in Pullman, was the last WSU player to win first team offensive honors, sharing the QB spot with Cal’s Jared Goff.
Dillard makes his way onto the first team after receiving honorable mention honors in 2017. He started all 12 games at left tackle for WSU and is thought to be one of the Pac-12’s top OL Draft prospects.
Lucas, who plays opposite Dillard on the Cougars’ offensive line, started all 12 games at right tackle his rookie season and was the only freshman to be named to the All-Pac-12 offensive teams. Only two freshmen, Stanford corner Paulson Adebo and USC defensive lineman Jay Tufele, were named to the defensive teams.
It’s the first All-Pac-12 honor for Tago, who had a team-high 10 tackles-for-loss this season, in addition to three sacks and 27 total tackles.
Of WSU’s honorable mention selections, only Thompson and Pelluer have been recognized by the Pac-12 before. The junior safety was a second-team honoree last season while the sixth-year senior linebacker was named honorable mention in 2015 and ’16.
By school, Utah led everyone in the Pac-12 with 17 players recognized. For the first time since 2000, USC failed to place a single player on the first team. Oregon State didn’t manage to get anyone on the first team or second team, but had four honorable mention choices.
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