Stephen Vilardo’s 2022 All-SuperWest Football Team

The Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences, along with BYU, feature a host of great players

Posted on December 6, 2022

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

Fair or not, as Power 5 conference, the Pac-12 is generally held in higher esteem by the college football community than the Group of 5 Mountain West.

But both leagues, along with BYU, feature a host of great players, many of whom will go on to play in the NFL.

In selecting our 2022 All-SuperWest Football team from among the two conferences, I have set aside reputations and records to assemble the top players, regardless of school, three teams deep.

As always, true objectivity isn’t possible, and while I’ve tried to be as fair as possible, there are bound to be some differences of opinion.

That being said, let’s get going with my All-SuperWest teams and annual awards.

[You may also want to check out Jack Follman’s All-Pac-12 Teams, Annual Awards, and All-Freshmen teams as well as Matt Wadleigh’s All-Mountain West Teams]

Offensive Player of the Year: Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Trojan QB Caleb Wiliams | Harry How/Getty Images
Williams is the second player in Pac-12 history with at least 30 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in a season.

He was the engine that made the USC potent offense go.

He did so many things for the Trojan offense this season and did not turn the ball over.

Already a finalist for the O’Brien and Maxwell awards he will be in New York this week as a Heisman finalist.

Defensive Player of the Year: Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC
USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu | John McCoy/AP
Named a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronco Nagurski Award, both given out to the player judged to be the best on the defensive side of the ball Tuipulotu is my defensive player of the year.

He has led a resurgent ball-hawking Trojan defense.

Offensive Freshman of the Year:  Damien Martinez, RB, Oregon State
Beaver RB Damien Martinez | Mark Ylen/AP
Martinez went over 100 yards in each of his final six games, averaging 123.7 yards per game during that stretch.

The last Beaver to run for at least 100 yards in six straight games was Steven Jackson in 2003.

Martinez gets the nod for this award just slightly ahead of Arizona’s Tetairoa McMillan.

Defensive Freshman of the Year:  Jeremiah Earby, CB, California
Cal CB Jeremiah Earby | Stephen Lam/The Chronicle
Earby led all freshmen in the nation with 1.0 passes defended per game tied for 33rd most in the nation.

The true freshman opened his career with an interception in his first-ever game.

Earby edges out Oluwaseyi Omotosho of Wyoming in my opinion.

Coach of the Year: Kalen DeBoer, Washington
Washington coach Kalen DeBoer | Dawgman/247Sports
I went back and forth on this one between DeBoer and Lincoln Riley, but it goes to DeBoer.

He completely turned around the Husky program and his innovative offense lit up the scoreboard.

He unleashed Michael Penix Jr., allowing the QB to find his full potential.

First-Team Offense

QB Caleb Williams, USC — The QB spot on this list was one of the most difficult positions, I could even argue with myself over who belongs on the Second and Third teams. Even with the depth of the position in the two conferences, the choice for First Team was not as hard.

Williams set himself apart from the field and his production was amazing for the 10th-ranked team in the nation. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over, with only three interceptions on the season in 407 pass attempts.

RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA —Charbonnet finished the regular season fourth in the nation with 135.9 rushing yards per game. He topped the 100-yard mark in eight times this season and did so in every conference game except for the USC game when he ran for 95.

His 1,359 rushing yards this season ranks as the seventh-best single-season total in Bruins history.

RB Brad Roberts, Air Force – Roberts was third in the nation with an Air Force single-season record 1,612 yards on the ground this season for the Falcons.

He averaged 5.23 yards per touch even though defenses knew Air Force was going to run the ball. His 134.3 yards rushing per game were the fifth-most in the nation. His 15 rushing TDs on the season were the 10th-most in the country.

WR Rome Odunze, Washington — Odunze has been the top target of Michael Penix this season. He has 70 receptions for 1,088 yards, ranking him 12th in the nation in receiving yards. Odunze put together four straight 100-yard receiving games, the first player in Washington history to accomplish that.

WR Jacob Cowing, Arizona — Cowing finished the season with 85 receptions for 1,034 yards, those are the third- and seventh-highest marks respectively in a single season in Arizona history.

He caught at least one pass in all 12 of Arizona’s games this season, running his consecutive games with a reception to 44, the longest active streak in the nation. His 85 receptions were the most by an Arizona pass catcher since 2002.

TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah — His 850 yards receiving were the most of any TE in the nation. Kincaid also leads all TE’s in the nation with 6.0 receptions per game, aand 13 of his 15 receptions on third down have moved the sticks for Utah. His eight TD receptions this season are the most in the nation for any TE in a Power Five conference.

OL Brett Neilon, USC — Neilon has been the second-highest-graded center in the nation this season by Pro Football Focus with a grade of 89.4. The entire USC offensive line is up for the Joe Moore Award given to the best OL unit.

Neilon is the center of that unit, both literally and figuratively. The offense as a whole is gaining 118.7 more yards per game than what their opponents normally allow, the fourth-best performance rank in the nation.

OL Andrew Vorhees, USC — Vorhees is the most experienced stalwart on a USC line that has allowed just 4.0 tackles for loss per game on the season, the 11th-best mark in the nation as a unit. Vorhees has graded out as the eighth-best Guard in the nation this season on 720 snaps.

OL T.J. Bass, OregonAnchor of an Oregon offensive line that allowed just four sacks all season a total of 163 backward-yards on offense. Excellent in run blocking spearheading a line that led the way to the 14th-best rushing offense in the nation.

OL  Isaac Cochran, Air Force — Cochran is the second highest-graded guard this season by PFF. He is the driving force behind a rushing attack that led the nation churning out 330.9 yards per game on the ground.

It is an offense that basically tells you they are going to run the ball and then the opponent still can’t contain them. Cochran has played 754 snaps this season

OL Blake Freeland, BYU — Freeland has been a four-year starter for the Cougars appearing in 43 games with 40 starts under his belt. This season Freeland was the second-highest-graded pass-blocking Tackle in the nation and was 12th in the run game.

First-Team Defense

DL Tuli Tuipulotu, USC — A finalist for the Bednarik Award, he leads the nation with 12.5 sacks on the season and is second in the nation with 20.0 tackles for loss. His sack total is the highest in a single season for a USC player since Kenechi Udeze set the program record with 16.5 in 2003.

The 101 negative yards he has created are tied for the most in the nation this season.

DL Viliami Fehoko, San Jose State — Led the Mountain West and was sixth nationally with 18.5 tackles for loss on the season. His 9.0 sacks on the season ranked 14th in the nation. When he did not get to the QB he still caused problems with six hurries and a pair of fumbles created.

DL David Perales, Fresno State — Perales averaged 0.88 sacks per game, the seventh-most in the nation, and his 10.5 total sacks on the season were the sixth-most in the country. Perales added six QB hurries on the season and forced two fumbles. His active hands have knocked down three passes.

EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA — Latu is tied for ninth in the nation with 9.5 sacks on the season, he has 11.0 total tackles for loss on the season. Additionally, he has forced three fumbles on the season and five QB hurries with one pass broken up.

LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State — A finalist for the Butkus Award. Henley has put together a productive season. He has 106 total tackles on the season to rank second in the Pac-12 and 27th in the nation. He has also forced three fumbles on the season.

PFF has him graded out as the third-best tackling linebacker in the nation this season.

LB Austin Ajiake, UNLV — He averaged 11.08 total tackles per game, ranking fourth in the nation and the most in the west. His 133 tackles made in 2022 were the second-most of any player in the nation. He racked up 11 solo stops against Hawai’i and added a pair of interceptions and four sacks on the season.

LB Kyle Soelle, Arizona State — Led the Pac-12 with 10 tackles per game to go with a couple of interceptions and three tackles for loss. He produced an additional three QB hurries for the Sun Devils.

DB Clark Phillips III, Utah — A finalist for the Jim Thorpe award, Phillips leads the nation in interceptions with six on the season. He was a semifinalist for the Bednarik and for my money is the second-best defender on this list, only slightly behind Tuipulotu.

Two of his five interceptions were returned for touchdowns. He added five pass breakups for the season along with two tackles for loss.

DB Calen Bullock, USC — Bullock has totaled five interceptions on the season to rank tied for third in the nation. He has returned one of those to the house to put points on the board for USC. His 172 return yards on interceptions are the second-most of any player in the nation.

DB Mekhi Blackmon, USC — Blackmon led the Pac-12 with 1.08 passes defended per game. He finished the season with three interceptions and 10 pass breakups. Blackmon also added two tackles for loss.

DB Bentlee Sanders, Nevada — Sanders also came away with five interceptions on the season for Nevada. Sanders added 6.8 tackles per game including a 10-tackle game against San Jose State. He also forced three fumbles on the season.

First-Team Special Teams

P Jake Browning, San Diego State — The Aztec punter finished the regular season fourth in the nation on punts downed inside the 20-yard line with 28. His net punting average was the sixth-best in the country with a mark of 42.7 yards per boot. He also handled the kickoff and place-kicking duties for San Diego State.

K Joshua Karty, Stanford — Karty, my choice for the Groza Award as well, finished the season perfect on field goals connecting on all 18 of his attempts for the Cardinal. He was 13-13 on field goals of 40+ and hit on all three of his kicks from 50 yards or more including a 61 yarder that was the longest made FG by any player in the nation this season.

RET Anthony Gould, Oregon State — Gould led the nation in punt returns on the season with 18.57 yards per return. He was one of just three players in the country to return multiple punts for a touchdown.

All-Purpose Jordan Byrd, San Diego State — Byrd finished the 2022 season with 487 kickoff return yards and 115 yards on punt returns. He added an additional 389 on ground and 53 receiving. He ended the season with an average of 7.7 yards every time he touched the football.

Second- Team Offense

QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington
RB Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State
RB Damien Martinez, Oregon State
WR Troy Horton Jr., Colorado State
WR Jordan Addison, USC
TE Benjamin Yurosek, Stanford
OL Justin Dedich, USC
OL Jaxson Kirkland, Washington
OL Joshua Gray, Oregon State
OL Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Oregon
OL Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Second-Team Defense

DL Jonah Tavai, San Diego State
DL Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State
DL Bralen Trice, Washington
DL Simote Pepa, Utah
LB Noah Sewell, Oregon
LB Omar Speights, Oregon State
LB Jackson Sirmon, Cal
DB Kitan Oladapo, Oregon State
DB JL Skinner, Boise State
DB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
DB Jaydon Grant, Oregon State

Second-Team Special Teams

P Ryan Sanborn, Stanford
K John Hoyland, Wyoming
RET Christian Washington, New Mexico
AP/ST Silas Bolden, Oregon State

Third-Team Offense

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson UCLA
RB Jordan Mims, Fresno State
RB George Holani, Boise State
WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper, Fresno State
WR Jake Bobo, USC
TE Jalin Conyers, Arizona State
OL Alex Forsyth, Oregon
OL John Ojukwu, Boise State
OL Henry Bainivalu, Washington
OL Jon Gaines II, UCLA
OL Jordan Morgan, Arizona

Third-Team Defense

DL Cade Hall, San Jose State
DL Adam Plant Jr., UNLV
DL Tyrone Taleni, USC
DL Gabriel Murphy, UCLA
LB Darius Muasau, UCLA
LB Easton Gibbs, Wyoming
LB Caden McDonald, San Diego State
DB Patrick McMorris, San Diego State
DB Daniel Scott, California
DB Michael Anyanwu, Utah State
DB Stephan Blaylock, UCLA

Third-Team Special Teams

P Nick Haberer, Washington State
K Peyton Henry, Washington
RET Kazmeir Allen, UCLA
AP/ST Terrell Vaughn, Utah State

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