Beginning last season, the Pac-12 began honoring the conference’s Freshman of the Week to go along with its customary Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week awards.
With the scarce number of freshmen who play prominent roles at the collegiate level, selecting a deserving recipient every week can be a challenge for media members who make up the voting pool. After week one, however, it was fairly straightforward.
Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after accounting for three touchdowns while leading the Cougars to a 38-28 win over Oregon State at Reser Stadium.
It may only be a matter of time before de Laura sets the record for Freshman of the Week selections. The Honolulu native will have a chance to play up to seven Pac-12 games this season and he’ll still be considered a freshman in 2021 due to the recent NCAA eligibility ruling.
Because the Pac-12 only began awarding Freshman of the Week in 2019, Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels is the current record-holder, earning the award three times last season.
In the season opener, de Laura passed for two touchdowns and rushed for one more. He completed 18 of 33 passes for 227 yards, throwing just one interception. De Laura rushed for another 43 yards on eight carries. The Saint Louis High graduate was the first true freshman in school history to start a season opener, as well as the first true freshman quarterback to start in any game since 2009 (Jeff Tuel).
De Laura earned the fourth-best quarterback grade from Pro Football Focus College last week.
The Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Week went to Colorado running back Jarek Broussard, while Arizona State’s Merlin Robertson won Defensive Player of the Week,
Arizona State’s Michael Turk won Special Teams Player of the Week, Oregon’s Ryan Walk won Offensive Lineman of the Week and USC’s Marlon Tuipulotu won Defensive Lineman of the Week.