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Nine Trojans lead the way on Pac-12 All-Conference teams

It won’t take the sting out of dropping the conference championship game this past Friday, but the USC Trojans placed nine players — more than any other conference program — on the All-Conference team released Tuesday.

The group was headlined by safety Talanoa Hufanga, who was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12.

In addition to Hufanga, four other Trojans were named to the First Team, as USC led the conference with five selections.

Quarterback Kedon Slovis, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker, defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu and Hufanga were the First-Team selections — a group that likely could have been picked before the season began. USC was the only team with three offensive players selected to the First-Team Offense.

Tuipulotu and Hufanga were one of three pairs of teammates selected to the First-Team Defense, as duos from Oregon and Washington also made the list.

USC placed two players on both the Second-Team Offense and Second-Team Defense, as wide receivers Drake London and Tyler Vaughns, outside linebacker Drake Jackson and cornerback Chris Steele were all selected.

London led the team with 502 receiving yards, while St. Brown caught seven touchdowns passes over the final three games of the season and led the team with 41 receptions. London and Vaughns tied for second with 33 receptions and three touchdowns each.

Steele had 26 tackles, four pass breakups and an interception. Jackson had 20 tackles, two sacks and an interception this season as he adjusted to a slightly different role in the defense, occasionally dropping into coverage as an outside linebacker.

Tuipulotu started the year as one of the conference’s dominant forces but had less impact on the stat sheet as the season went along. Still, he finished with 23 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble as offenses increasingly keyed on him.

Slovis had an up-and-down sophomore season, but still threw for 1,916 yards, 17 touchdowns and completed 67% of his passes. He’ll likely be thinking all offseason about the three interceptions he threw in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but he was one of the biggest reasons the Trojans were in the game in the first place, as he delivered on more than a few occasions late in games throughout the season.

Seven Trojans were named Honorable Mention Pac-12, including both specialists in punter Ben Griffiths and kicker Parker Lewis. On offense, center Brett Neilon and right tackle Jalen McKenzie were named, while defensively, it was defensive end Nick Figueroa, cornerback Olaijah Griffin and safety Isaiah Pola-Mao.

Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.

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