SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 today announced its 2021 football season’s third weekly performance awards, presented by Nextiva. See below for Week Three’s recognitions across the Conference and keep track of the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year watchlist here:
OFFENSE & FRESHMAN: Jaxson Dart, Fr., QB, USC (Kaysville, UT)
- 3rd player to win both Offense & Freshman in award in same week since the Freshman award began in 2019. Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels won it in November 2019 and USC QB Kedon Slovis won it in September 2019 in his first career start.
- When starting QB Kedon Slovis was knocked out of the game on the opening series, true freshman backup Jaxson Dart came in and had a historic first-time performance under adverse circumstances. After seeing USC fall behind late in the first half, 14-0, in the rain and playing under an interim head coach, Dart rallied the Trojans to a 45-14 win.
- Threw for 391 yards–the most ever by a Trojan in his debut–on 30-of-46 passing (65.2%) with 4 TDs. Its the 3rd most by a Pac-12 QB in their debut since at least 1997.
- Also led USC in rushing with 32 yards on 6 carries, the first Trojan quarterback to do so since Matt Barkley in 2010 versus Stanford.
- His first TD toss was a 38-yarder on fourth-and-9 with 32 seconds left in the second quarter to get USC finally on the board, and he did so while hobbling on a knee he bruised while rushing.
- 3 of his 4 TDs were 30-plus yards.
Also nominated for offense: Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington; Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA; Travis Dye, RB, Oregon; Chase Garbers, QB, California; Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State; Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford; Chance Nolan, QB, Oregon State;
Check out the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year Watchlist, presented by Nextiva, to learn more.
Also nominated for freshman: Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington; Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon; Andrew Edson, Edge, Washington State; Jimmy Wyrick, Safety, Stanford; Omarr Norman-Lott, DL, Arizona State; Easton Mascarenas, ILB, Oregon State
DEFENSE: Verone McKinley III, So., Safety, Oregon (Carrollton, TX)
- Led the Oregon defense in a 48-7 win over Stony Brook, recording a pair of interceptions and three tackles (two solo).
- Notched his second career multi-interception game and brought his season INT total to 3 through 3 games. 3 INT leads the Pac-12 and is tied for the most in FBS this season. Now has 8 career interceptions, 4 away from cracking the UO all-time top 10. Picked off passes in consecutive games for the second time in his career.
- Earned a solid 80.1 overall grade by Pro Football Focus, including a stellar 88.5 grade in pass coverage.
- Oregon’s defense held its opponent to single-digit points for the first time since Nov. 16, 2019. The Ducks held Stony Brook scoreless in the second half while allowing just 80 total yards.
- 2nd time McKinley has won this award with first time coming in October 2019. He’s the first Duck to win the award since Jamal Hill won it after the 2020 Pac-12 Championship Game.
Also nominated: Drake Jackson, OLB, USC; Brendan Radley-Hiles, DB, Washington; Nate Landman, ILB, Colorado; Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah; Jimmy Wyrick, Safety, Stanford; Kyle Soelle, LB, Arizona State; Qwuantrezz Knight, DB, UCLA; Omar Speights, ILB, Oregon State
SPECIAL TEAMS: Britain Covey, Jr., PR/WR, Utah (Provo, UT)
- Tallied 132 punt return yards, a career-high, in the game at San Diego State. Highlighted the day with an 80-yard return for a touchdown, the longest single return in the Pac-12 this season and 4th longest in FBS.
- 132 total PR yards for the night rank sixth all-time at Utah for a single game. It’s also the most in FBS this season and top performance in the Pac-12 since 2013. Shaky Smithson was the last Ute to return for as many yards, doing so during the 2010 season.
- 1st Ute to win the award since kicker Jadon Redding won it twice last season. First Utah returner to win the award since Cory Butler-Byrd in September 2015.
Also nominated: Nikko Remigio, WR/KR, California; Josh Watts, P, Colorado; Kazmeir Allen, WR/KR, UCLA; Micah Croom, ILB, USC; Alex Cook, DB, Washington; Camden Lewis, K, Oregon; Eddie Czaplicki, P, Arizona State; Joshua Karty, K, Stanford
OFFENSIVE LINE: T.J. Bass, Jr., OG, Oregon (Deming, WA)
- Tied for the team high with four knockdowns in No. 4 Oregon’s 48-7 win over Stony Brook.
- Earned a terrific 86.4 grade by Pro Football Focus, including a stellar 93.5 run-blocking grade. 93.5 run-block grade ranked second nationally among all offensive linemen and first among guards in Week Three, and his 86.4 overall grade was tops in the nation among guards and 11th overall.
- Helped pave the way for an Oregon rushing attack that went for 173 yards on 39 carries. Oregon’s offense scored 40-plus points for the first time this season.
- 2nd time Bass has won this award, having previously been honored in November 2020. Ducks win the award in back-to-back weeks after Alex Forsyth won it after Oregon’s win over Ohio State. Oregon also won the award in consecutive weeks last season with Ryan Walk and T.J. Bass winning the first 2 weeks of the 2020 season. Since this award began in 2019, Oregon has won it 12 of the 24 weeks.
Also nominated: Will Craig, LT, California; Luke Wattenberg, C, Washington; Jake Levengood, OL, Oregon State; Henry Hattis, RG, Arizona State
DEFENSIVE LINE: Drake Jackson, Jr., OLB, USC (Corona, CA)
- Outside linebacker who plays on the defensive line as a rush end, had a blindside strip sack of Washington State quarterback Victor Gabalis in the end zone and USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu recovered for a touchdown. At the time, the Trojans were leading just 21-14 late in the third quarter. Jackson ended up with 4 tackles in the game.
- 2nd time Jackson has won this award, having won in December of last season.
Also nominated: Devin Kaufusi, DT, Utah; Simon Sandberg, DL, Oregon State; D.J. Davidson, DL, Arizona State