USC Football tops All-Pac-12 first team selections for 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Quarterback Sam Darnold
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Quarterback Sam Darnold /

Quarterback Sam Darnold headlined the 2017 All-Pac-12 First Team as USC Football led the conference with selections.

USC Football’s successful Pac-12 campaign ended with a conference title and seven first team selections on the 2017 All-Pac-12 team.

Quarterback Sam Darnold beat out UCLA’s Josh Rosen for the coveted first team honor while Ronald Jones II joined Heisman finalist Bryce Love of Stanford as the top two running back picks.

Darnold and Jones II provided a devastating one-two punch for the Trojan offense in 2017. The quarterback posted a passer rating of 151.01, second to Washington’s Jake Browning. His 26 touchdowns were tied with Rosen for second in the Pac-12 as well, but he led the conference in yards passing.

Jones II was second in the Pac-12 behind Love with 1,486 yards rushing. His 18 touchdowns were also second only to Washington’s Myles Gaskin.

The Trojans placed four names on the first team defense including defensive lineman Rasheem Green, outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, inside linebacker Cameron Smith and safety Marvell Tell.

Green’s nine sacks were second in the Pac-12, while Nwosu’s 7.5 were tied for third. Smith’s 102 tackles were third in the conference as well. Tell returned one of his three interceptions for a touchdown this year while adding 79 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

The final first team selection for USC came on special teams, with Michael Pittman recognized as an all-purpose player for his contributions on kick coverage and returns. His trick punt return against UCLA was one of the special teams highlights of the year in the Pac-12.

Four more Trojans made the cut as second teamers. Wide receiver Deontay Burnett and left tackle Toa Lobendahn represented on offense with lineman Christian Rector on defense and safety Matt Lopes on special teams.

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A total of nine USC players also received an honorable mention: left guard Chris Brown, running back Stephen Carr, nose tackle Josh Fatu, safety Chris Hawkins, cornerback Iman Marshall, receiver Steven Mitchell, tight end Tyler Petite, nose tackle Brandon Pili and receiver Tyler Vaughns.

That means 20 players in USC’s 2017 lineup were honored in some way on the all-conference team.

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The complete team effort of the Trojans ultimately capped the Pac-12 season with the Trojans first conference title since 2008, besting Stanford in the championship game in Santa Clara on Friday, 31-28.