Despite a pandemic, Washington football still had 11 players earn all-conference honors
Washington football’s first-year head coach Jimmy Lake was given a tall task in 2020. He was asked to coach a young team, recruit the most important class of seniors in state history, hire a new offensive coordinator, and coach in the middle of a global pandemic. While everything might not have worked out exactly as he might’ve liked it, he still gets to boast 11 all Pac-12 selections, including four All Pac-12 First Team honorees, and two on the All Pac-12 second team. With that being said, let’s take a look at all the Huskies who were recognized on Tuesday.
All Pac-12 First Team
Elijah Molden– The senior made the All Pac-12 First Team for a second time, and then announced that he won’t be exercising his extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA, and instead will be entering the NFL Draft. Molden finished his Husky career with five interceptions, four of which came during the 2019 campaign.
Cade Otton– Arguably the best tight end in the country in 2020 outside of Kyle Pitts, Otton recorded his best season yet on Montlake. His run blocking was as good as its ever been, and he broke out as a receiver. He tied his career-high with three touchdowns and recorded 18 catches to go with 258 receiving yards over just four games.
Jaxson Kirkland– As a right guard, Kirkland made the Associated Press’ All Pac-12 Second Team, and during his first season at left tackle, he lived up to the hype. He was an excellent blindside protector for Dylan Morris, and will hopefully come back to Montlake for the 2021 season.
Zion Tupuola-Fetui– ZTF is likely a candidate to make an All-American team, and was probably snubbed for the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award. He recorded seven sacks over the Huskies’ four games, and was one of Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded defenders all season. Without Joe Tryon and Laiatu Latu, he stepped up in a big way and led the Washington pass rush.
All Pac-12 Second Team
Trent McDuffie– After bursting onto the scene as a true freshman and being named a Freshman All-American by Pro Football Focus, McDuffie continued his rise to stardom by making the All Pac-12 Second Team. Through the Huskies’ first three games, he was targeted by opposing quarterbacks a total of three times for nine yards, including the game-winning interception in the 24-21 comeback victory over Utah.
Edefuan Ulofoshio– In his first full season as a starter, the former walk-on didn’t disappoint. He recorded 47 tackles through four games, which equaled his total from nine games in the 2019 season. Since he took over at inside linebacker during the 2019 matchup with Oregon State, Ulofoshio has been a sparkplug at the position and will most likely take over for Molden as the defense’s emotional leader in 2021.
To go along with six members of the All Pac-12 First and Second Teams, the Huskies also had five honorable mentions. Quarterback Dylan Morris, guard Henry Bainivalu, center Luke Wattenberg, tackle Victor Curne, and cornerback/special teamer Kyler Gordon.
With four members of the offensive line earning honors, and if Kirkland decides to forgo the NFL Draft, Washington could have the best offensive line in the country returning for 2021. The only player from this group leaving (so far) is Molden, so Lake has all the building blocks in place to compete for a Pac-12 championship in 2021.