Daiyan Henley sure made an impact in his one year in Pullman.
The Washington State linebacker and Nevada transfer was the Cougars’ lone pick to the Pac-12 all-conference first team when the honors were released Tuesday.
Henley was named to the first team at linebacker and the second team as an all-purpose/special teams player.
Edge rushers Brennan Jackson and Ron Stone Jr. each were picked to the second team and seven players earned honorable mention — punt returner Robert Ferrel, punter Nick Haberer, left tackle Jarrett Kingston, defensive back Armani Marsh, cornerback Chau Smith-Wade, quarterback Cameron Ward and running back Nakia Watson.
USC swept the player of the year honors with the offensive award going to quarterback Caleb Williams, a Heisman Trophy finalist, and the defensive award going to defensive tackle Tuli Tuipulotu.
Henley, who no doubt was in the running for the defensive trophy, is the first Cougar linebacker to earn first-team honors since Will Derting in 2003.
The senior enters the LA Bowl on Dec. 17 against Fresno State second in the Pac-12 in tackles (106), third in tackles for loss (12), tied for first in forced fumbles (three) and also has two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Henley also made an impact on special teams, catching a fourth-down pass from Haberer for 36 yards in the Apple Cup. His six special teams tackles were a team high.
For Jackson, his second-team honor was a step up from the honorable mentions he received each of the past two seasons. The junior tallied 39 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and five sacks and he led the team with 38 quarterback pressures.
Stone Jr., who was a first-teamer last season, had a down year statistically but still tallied 31 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and tied for second in the Pac-12 with 11 quarterback hits.
Jackson and Stone also are two of the biggest vocal leaders on the team.
WSU’s defensive honors came as no surprise considering the unit led the conference in scoring defense all the way until the final game of the regular season.
But this was the first time since 2013 that WSU did not land an offensive player on the Pac-12 first or second teams.
The biggest possibilities there would’ve been Kingston on the offensive line or Watson at running back. Watson has 1,026 yards of total offense and 12 total touchdowns despite missing two games with an injury.
Haberer also was impressive with 19 punts inside the 20-yard line, second-best in the conference, with only one touchback.
Hicks named freshman All-American
While he didn’t land on the conference list, WSU safety Jaden Hicks did pick up national honors as the freshman was named a third-team freshman All-American by College Football News, it was announced.
Hicks is the second WSU freshman All-American in as many seasons after Haberer earned the accolades last season. He’s also the first Cougar defensive player to earn the highest freshman honors since safety Jalen Thompson of the Arizona Cardinals in 2016.
Hicks was thrust into the starting lineup after injuries to starting safety Jordan Lee and he finished second on the team with 69 tackles, the most among first-year players in the Pac-12.
Edson, Thornton earn academic honors
It’s not all about football stats.
WSU edge Andrew Edson and linebacker Kyle Thornton each picked up honors in the classroom as the pair was named CoSIDA Academic All-District recently by College Sports Communicators.
Edson earned his first career academic honor after posting a 3.97 GPA, majoring in computer science. He also made an impact on the field with 15 tackles, 5.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Thornton has a 3.85 GPA while majoring in economic sciences and posted 30 tackles on the season.
Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, email@example.com or on Twitter @StephanSports.
QB — Caleb Williams, USC. RB — Zach Charbonnet, UCLA; Damien Martinez, Oregon State. WR — Rome Odunze, Washington; Jordan Addison, USC. TE — Dalton Kincaid, Utah. OL — T.J. Bass, Oregon; Braeden Daniels, Utah; Alex Forsyth, Oregon; Andrew Vorhees, USC; Jaxson Kirkland, Washington; Sataoa Laumea, Utah.
DL — Tuli Tuipulotu, USC; Laiatu Latu, UCLA; Bralen Trice, Washington; Jeremiah Martin. LB — Daiyan Henley, Washington State; Jackson Sirmon, California; Omar Speights, Oregon State. DB — Clark Phillips III, Utah; Christian Gonzalez, Oregon; Mekhi Blackmon, USC; Rejzohn Wright, Oregon State.
K — Joshua Karty, Stanford. P — Eddie Czaplicki, Arizona State. RS — Anthony Gould, Oregon State. AP/ST — Jack Colletto, Oregon State.
Offensive player of the year — Williams.
Defensive player of the year — Tuipulotu.
Freshman offensive player of the year — Martinez.
Freshman defensive player of the year — Lander Barton, Utah.
Coaches of the year — Kalen DeBoer, Washington; Jonathan Smith, Oregon State.
QB — Michael Penix Jr., Washington. RB — X Valladay, Arizona State; Travis Dye, USC. WR — Dorian Singer, Arizona; Troy Franklin, Oregon. TE — Benjamin Yurosek, Stanford. OL — Troy Fautanu, Washington; Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State; Brett Neilon, USC; Joshua Gray, Oregon State; Atonio Mafi, UCLA.
DL — Brandon Dorlus, Oregon; Ron Stone Jr., Washington State; Brennan Jackson, Washington State; Junior Tafuna, Utah. LB — Noah Sewell, Oregon; Karene Reid, Utah; Darius Muasau, UCLA. DB — Jaydon Grant, Oregon State; Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford; Calen Bullock, USC; Alex Cook, Washington.
K — Peyton Henry, Washington. P — Jamieson Shehan, California. RS — Silas Bolden, Oregon State. AP/ST — Henley.HONORABLE MENTION
Washington State players: RS — Robert Ferrel; P — Nick Haberer; OL — Jarrett Kingston, R-Jr.; DB — Armani Marsh; DB — Chau Smith-Wade; QB — Cam Ward; RB — Nakia Watson.