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USC tops preseason All-Pac-12 football team with six first-team selections

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis throws during a game against UCLA on Nov. 23, 2019.
USC quarterback Kedon Slovis was named to the media’s preseason All-Pac-12 first team on Thursday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

As the Pac-12’s postponed season prepares for its long-awaited debut this weekend, the perception of the conference’s top talent appears to lean heavily toward USC, which saw a conference-leading six players named to the media’s preseason All-Pac-12 first team on Thursday.

USC sophomore Kedon Slovis earned 17 of 22 votes as the Pac-12’s top quarterback, and he was joined on the first team by his top two receivers, Amon-ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns, as well as the Trojans’ top returning offensive lineman, Alijah Vera-Tucker. On defense, edge rusher Drake Jackson and safety Talanoa Hufanga also earned top preseason marks.

Punter Ben Griffiths was added to the second team, while defensive linemen Marlon Tuipulotu and Brandon Pili and defensive backs Isaiah Pola-Mao and Olaijah Griffin were given honorable mention.

UCLA had two players — defensive end Osa Odighizuwa and all-purpose player Demetric Felton — named to the second-team and another, offensive lineman Sean Rhyan, given honorable mention.

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A lot is expected from the junior linebacker and new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando isn’t afraid to let Palaie Gaoteote know that.

The Pac-12 list this season is largely based on residual hype, comments from coaches and scant video evidence, with media across the conference unable to observe any practice in the lead-up to the Saturday start.

The Trojans were picked earlier in the offseason to take part in the Pac-12 title game against Oregon. But in that matchup, the media predicted USC to lose.

The Times does not vote in media polls per its policy.

2020 preseason All-Pac-12 conference team

First team offense

QB: Kedon Slovis, USC
RB: CJ Verdell, Oregon
RB: Max Borghi, Washington State
WR: Amon-ra St. Brown, USC
WR: Tyler Vaughns, USC
TE: Brant Kuithe, Utah
C: Drew Dalman, Stanford
OL: Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
OL: Abraham Lucas, Washington State
OL: Jaxson Kirkland, Washington
OL: Nick Ford, Utah

More than half of UCLA’s football team will wear one-word messages on the backs of their jerseys Saturday in an effort to promote social justice.

First team defense

DL: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
DL: Mustafa Johnson, Colorado
DL: Jordan Scott, Oregon
DL: Jermayne Lole, Arizona State
LB: Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State
LB: Nate Landman, Colorado
LB: Drake Jackson, USC
DB: Elijah Molden, Washington
DB: Camryn Bynum, California
DB: Talanoa Hufanga, USC
DB: Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon

First team specialists

PK: Blake Mazza, Washington State
P: Michael Turk, Arizona State
AP: Max Borghi, Washington State

Second team offense

QB: Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
RB: Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State
RB: Christopher Brown Jr., California
WR: Frank Darby, Arizona State
WR: Johnny Johnson III, Oregon
TE: Cade Otton, Washington
C: Orlando Umana, Utah
OL: Jake Curhan, California
OL: Dohnovan West, Arizona State
OL: Foster Sarell, Stanford
OL: Simi Moala, Utah

State and county health officials cited rising community spread of COVID-19 as the key factor in their decision not to allow family at UCLA and USC home games.

Second team defense

DL: Mika Tafua, Utah
DL: Thomas Booker, Stanford
DL: Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
DL: Brett Johnson, California
LB: Kuony Deng, California
LB: Jahad Woods, Washington State
LB: Ryan Bowman, Washington
DB: Jack Jones, Arizona State
DB: Elijah Hicks, California
DB: Mykael Wright, Oregon
DB: Aashari Crosswell, Arizona State

Second team specialists

PK: Peyton Henry, Washington
P: Ben Griffiths, USC
AP: Demetric Felton, UCLA & Britain Covey, Utah (tie)

Honorable mention (received votes from four or more members of the media)

RUNNING BACK: Alex Fontenot, Colorado

WIDE RECEIVER: K.D. Nixon, Colorado; Britain Covey, Utah

CENTER: Michael Saffell, California; Luke Wattenberg, Washington

OFFENSIVE LINE: Donovan Laie, Arizona; William Sherman, Colorado; Brandon Kipper, Oregon State; Sean Rhyan, UCLA; Josh Watson, Washington State

DEFENSIVE LINE: Zeandae Johnson, California; Brandon Pili, USC; Marlon Tuipulotu, USC; Viane Moala, Utah

LINEBACKER: Merlin Robertson, Arizona State; Cameron Goode, California; Isaac Slade-Matautia, Oregon; Devin Lloyd, Utah

DEFENSIVE BACK: Lorenzo Burns, Arizona; Chase Lucas, Arizona State; Olaijah Griffin, USC; Isaiah Pola-Mao, USC; Trent McDuffie, Washington

PLACE KICKER: Cristian Zendejas, Arizona State; Jet Toner, Stanford

PUNTER: Oscar Draguicevich III, Washington State

ALL-PURPOSE: Mykael Wright, Oregon; Travell Harris, Washington State


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