TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State’s run to the Pac-12 Championship game has earned the Sun Devils plenty of hardware.
Todd Graham was named the Pac-12 coach of the year on Monday and defensive end Will Sutton became the second player to repeat as defensive player of the year after leading the 11th-ranked Sun Devils to 10 wins and a spot in the Pac-12 title game on Saturday.
Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey was the Pac-12 offensive player of the year and UCLA two-way star Myles Jack was the offensive and defensive freshman of the year, the first time that’s happened since the awards were added in 2008.
Graham led Arizona State to eight wins, including its first victory in a bowl since 2007, in his first season in the desert and topped that this season by getting the Sun Devils within a game of their first Rose Bowl since 1997.
Arizona State had six players on the first team to match Stanford, the Sun Devils’ opponent in the conference championship game.
“I’m obviously extremely honored to receive that,” Graham said. “I can tell you, that’s an honor that’s reflective of our staff, coaching staff recognition. I’m very proud of our guys and what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
A senior, Sutton joins Washington defensive tackle Steve Emtman (1990-91) as the only players to repeat as the conference player of the year after another superb season on Arizona State’s line.
Though his numbers were down from a year ago, Sutton was one of the nation’s most disruptive players, finishing the regular season with 10.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks, and had the game-sealing interception in a close road win over Utah.
“When I got a call from Coach Graham last night, I saw that it was him and thought I was in trouble and wasn’t sure I should answer it or not,” Sutton said. “I never thought I’d get the defensive player of the year twice. My numbers are down a little bit, but we’re winning so it didn’t matter to me. Winning this is just crazy.”
Carey was an All-American last season after leading the nation in rushing yards per game and was just as good this season to become Arizona’s first offensive player of the year.
Despite teams gearing up to stop him, the junior ran for 1,716 yards and 18 touchdowns with a per-game average of 156, which was second nationally to Boston College’s Andre Williams.
Jack, a graduate of Bellevue High School, started the season as a linebacker, but became a two-way player when UCLA’s coaches put him in at running back against Arizona on Nov. 9. He ran for 120 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown that sealed the game, and has been in the Bruins’ backfield ever since.
Jack had 70 tackles and an interception as a linebacker and ran for 267 yards — with a 7.2 per-carry average — and seven touchdowns as a running back.