Monday, November 28, 2011
Lee, Bailey named Pac-12 freshman players of the year
By Pedro Moura
USC receiver Marqise Lee and linebacker Dion Bailey were named the Pac-12 conference's offensive and defensive freshman of the year, the league announced Monday.
Lee, a product of Serra High in nearby Gardena, shared the offensive award with Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas. Bailey, a redshirt freshman from Lakewood High who converted from safety before the 2011 season, was the sole honoree on the defensive side.
Lee finished the 2011 season with 73 catches for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns, picking up his pace over the final five games of the year. Bailey had 81 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble on the year -- as well as a 14-tackle game against Arizona, the most by a USC freshman in a game since 1996.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was named the conference's offensive player of the year, and Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks earned the defensive honor. USC coach Lane Kiffin lost out to Stanford coach David Shaw in the Pac-12 Coach of the Year announcement. Runners-up are not announced for the conference awards, voted on by the Pac-12 coaches.
Seven Trojans were named to the All-Pac-12 First Team, the most of any team in the conference and four more than USC had a year ago. Receiver Robert Woods, left tackle Matt Kalil, defensive end Nick Perry, safety T.J. McDonald, cornerback Nickell Robey, kicker Andre Heidari and special-teamer Rhett Ellison all earned first-team honors.
Woods was the only player unanimously named to the first team.
Five Trojans were named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team: quarterback Matt Barkley, Lee, center Khaled Holmes, defensive end Wes Horton and Bailey. Four Trojans earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention status: running back Curtis McNeal, tight end Randall Telfer, defensive tackle Christian Tupou and linebacker Hayes Pullard.
Of the 11 freshmen or sophomores named to the conference's first or second teams, five play for USC.