AP All-Pac-12 team: Clay Helton voted Coach of the Year

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

Clay Helton was voted Coach of the Year while Sam Darnold and other USC Football stars earned AP All-Pac-12 honors for 2017.

The AP All-Pac-12 team was revealed on Thursday, with head coach Clay Helton voted Coach of the Year and five other Trojans earning a place on the first team.

The Trojan head coach was passed over for Stanford’s David Shaw, who he bested twice on the field, in the coach-voted conference awards, but his achievements were acknowledged by the AP despite some debate in the fanbase and media about whether USC underachieved or overachieved this year.

Helton led USC to their first Pac-12 Championship since 2008, despite facing a regular season with no bye week and struggling through a multitude of injuries to the lineup throughout late September and October.

USC’s first team selections included quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones II, wide receiver Deontay Burnett, defensive lineman Rasheem Green and outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu. All but Burnett were also first team All-Pac-12 selections by the conference.

Darnold suffered some setbacks to start the year with a number of turnovers, but he rallied to finish the season strong, throwing for 3,787 yards and 26 touchdowns with a passer rating of 151.01.

Jones II was second among running backs in the conference with 1,486 yards and 18 touchdowns, posting one of the best rushing seasons at USC since Reggie Bush while rising into the Top 5 of the Trojans all-time rushing chart.

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Burnett was a second team pick for the all-conference team, but the AP voters felt he warranted first team status in a tie with UCLA’s Darren Andrews thanks to his 975 yards receiving and nine touchdowns.

Green led USC with nine sacks in 2017, ranking second in the conference behind the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12, Hercules Mata’afa of Washington State.

Nwosu capped his Trojan career with an impressive season, leading the nation’s linebackers in pass breakups.

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No Trojans on offense made the second team but a number of players on defense made the cut including defensive lineman Christian Rector, linebacker Cameron Smith, cornerbacks Jack Jones and Iman Marshall, and safety Chris Hawkins.

Safety Marvell Tell, who was voted a first team selection on the All-Pac-12 team was not included by the AP.