The all-conference honors were announced for the Pac-12 on Tuesday, and the conference champion Utes were well represented.
Being named as the Defensive Player of the Year, Devin Lloyd claimed the program's first honor of this type. The question was it going to be Lloyd or Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon since he is a presumed top draft pick and had all the preseason hype. Lloyd was, without a doubt, the most impactful defensive player of the season, and his pick-six in the championship game solidified that. This is the second player of the year honor Utah has received, which is not a freshman of the year honor. Zack Moss was the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year.
For the second time in three seasons, and for the second consecutive full season, Kyle Whittingham has been named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. After all the adversity this season, Coach Whitt's job this season may have been his best job ever. Some people wondered if Jonathon Smith from Oregon State would get the crown, but I think Whitt was a no-brainer. The question is, will he also get National Coach of the Year?
Rounding out the player of the Year honors was Junior Tafuna. Tafuna was thrust into action this year after injuries on the defensive line hit during the SDSU game. Tafuna helped stabilize the run defense and will be a force for years to come. Tafuna joins Ty Jordan as a freshman player of the year after Ty won the offensive honor a season ago.
Even after missing the season's last month, USC's Drake London was named the Offensive Player of the Year. I have no problem with him winning it, either. He was so dominant and was undoubtedly the best offensive player this season. I think Cam and Tayvion had a chance, but London, I believe, is the no-brainer.
Now for the all-conference teams.
On offense, seeing Cam Rising and Tavion Thomas was a pleasant surprise for me. I thought maybe DTR or someone else might get first-team QB over Cam. I also wondered if we'd see Thomas on the second team, but his 1000 year, 20 TD season could not be overlooked. Cam joins Tyler Huntley as Utah QBs who have gotten first-team honors.
What are your thoughts? Did the coaches get the honors right?