Monday, June 10, 2013
Poll: Pac-12's leading interceptor in 2013?
By Ted Miller
We've been reviewing Pac-12 statistical leaders from 2012 who are returning in 2013. Now it's your turn.
We've already polled you on passing, rushing and receiving with 45 percent saying "Other" for rushing, 42 percent saying Oregon's Marcus Mariota for passing and 41 percent favoring USC's Marqise Lee for receiving.
Moving to defense, 55 percent of you favored "Other" in the poll on who would lead the Pac-12 in tackles, while 34 percent believe Arizona State DT Will Sutton will be tops in sacks.
Our final category is interceptions.
This is a tough one because five players who had at least four interceptions return in 2013. And there are plenty of guys who could qualify for an "Other" category, but we can only offer five choices, per poll rules.
The returning Pac-12 leader for interceptions is Stanford safety Ed Reynolds. The preseason All-American not only grabbed six picks in 2012, he returned three for a touchdown and a fourth was incorrectly ruled down at the 1-yard line in the Pac-12 championship game against UCLA.
Some folks don't know much about Oregon safety Erick Dargan, but he grabbed all five of his interceptions in the final six games to lead the Ducks (he missed the Cal game with an injury), including two in the Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State.
His teammate, preseason All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, grabbed four interceptions when it seemed teams were throwing away from fellow corner Terrance Mitchell. It will be interesting to see if Mitchell sees more balls this year, and therefore gets more picks.
Washington State safety Deone Bucannon tied Dargan with five picks. The Cougars' leading tackler and unquestioned defensive leader heading into 2013 earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2012.
Finally, USC's Dion Bailey might be a good pick. Despite playing linebacker last year, he grabbed four interceptions. With the Trojans' new 3-4 defense, he's moving back to his natural safety position, where you'd think he'd get his hands on more balls.