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Washington State’s Ron Stone Jr., Dean Janikowski named to All-Pac-12 preseason first team

By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

Pac-12 media members are predicting repeat performances this season from a pair of Washington State football players.

Cougar edge rusher Ron Stone Jr. and kicker Dean Janikowski, both of whom earned first-team all-conference honors last year, were named to the media’s All-Pac-12 preseason first team, which was released by the conference Tuesday.

Six fellow Cougs landed on the All-Pac-12 honorable mention team.

Stone, who on Tuesday was also selected to the watch list for the prestigious Bronko Nagurski Trophy, had a breakout season in 2021, establishing himself as a WSU fan-favorite and one of the conference’s most consistently impactful defensive linemen. Stone logged 11.5 tackles for loss, 63 total tackles and five sacks – he tallied one sack in four consecutive games at one point last year.

Janikowski connected on 14 of 17 field-goal attempts, good for the best FG percentage in the conference. The junior from Fallbrook, California, finished tied for third in the conference among kickers with 84 points.

WSU’s honorable-mention preseason all-conference recipients include senior linebacker Daiyan Henley, sophomore wide receiver De’Zhaun Stribling, junior edge Brennan Jackson, senior nickel Armani Marsh, senior cornerback Derrick Langford Jr. and sophomore punter Nick Haberer.

Henley, who on Monday was named to the Butkus Award watch list, is entering his first season at WSU after spending the past five years at Nevada. He was a second-team All-Mountain West pick in 2021.

Stribling earned an honorable-mention nod last season after recording 471 yards and five touchdowns on 44 receptions. The Hawaiian led all Pac-12 freshmen in each of those categories.

Jackson took home all-conference honorable mention recognition last year after registering 46 tackles, six TFLs and four sacks. The Temecula, California, native was twice named the Pac-12’s defensive lineman of the week.

Marsh made 70 tackles and led WSU with three interceptions last season en route to an all-conference honorable mention. A Spokane native and former walk-on, Marsh snagged two picks in the Cougars’ Apple Cup blowout of Washington.

Langford started all 13 games last season at one of WSU’s two outside CB positions. He finished with 40 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. The Bay Area product is expected to take on the toughest coverage assignments this season.

Haberer was named a freshman All-American last year by the Football Writers Association. He averaged 42.8 yards on 52 punts, dropping 14 kicks inside opponents’ 20-yard lines. The Australian impressed in his debut collegiate season despite playing half the year with a break and torn ligaments in his nondominant ankle.

Utah and USC each placed a conference-best six players on the All-Pac-12 preseason first team.

Preseason polls will be revealed when Pac-12 media day kicks off at 8 a.m. Friday at the Novo Theater in Los Angeles.