Pac-12: Morris Trophy

Morris Trophy winners: Sutton, Su'a-Filo

December, 18, 2013
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UCLA offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton have been named winners of the 34th annual Morris Trophy, which is voted on by opposing Pac-12 linemen.

Here's the rest of the Pac-12 release:
S’ua-Filo, a a 6-foot-3, 305-pound junior from Pleasant Grove, Utah, is a two-time All-Pac-12 first team selection, starting every game in his career on the offensive line for the Bruins. A team captain in 2013, he earned the team’s offensive most valuable player honors after playing both tackle and guard for a Bruins team that won nine or more games for the second-consecutive year, a feat the program hadn’t accomplished since the 1997 and 1998 seasons. After earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors as a freshman in 2009, S’ua-Filo left for his two-year Mormon mission, but returned in 2012 to star on an offensive line that helped pave the way for former Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin, who set new school records for most career rushing yardage and most single-season rushing yardage. S’ua-Filo is only the second UCLA offensive lineman to earn the award and just the fourth Bruin overall to be honored.

Sutton, a 6-foot-1, 267-pound redshirt senior from Corona, Calif., earns the award for the second-consecutive year, becoming just the fourth defensive player in the award’s history to do so. The two-time Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year led a Sun Devils defense in 2013 that was third in the Conference in total defense (363.8 yards per game), was tied for first in sacks (40 total sacks) and led the conference in forced turnovers (31). Sutton anchored an aggressive defense that has forced one turnover in 28-consecutive games, which is good for second in the country among FBS schools for longest-active streak. On the year, Sutton recorded 11.5 tackles for loss for 45 yards, four sacks and added one interception that sealed a win over UCLA to clinch the Pac-12 South Division title and earn the Sun Devils their first Pac-12 football championship game berth. He is the fifth Sun Devil to win the Morris Trophy, the third ASU defensive lineman to earn the honor and the first in program history to earn the defensive award twice.

The Morris Trophy is sponsored by the Washington Athletic Club, the 101 club, Athletic Awards of Seattle and the Morris Trophy Foundation. It was created by Traci (Morris) Drake in 1980 and named after her father, G. Patrick Morris. S’ua-Filo and Sutton will be presented their awards at a luncheon at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle on Thursday Jan. 16, 2014.

Sutton, Yankey win Morris Awards

December, 11, 2012
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Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American, and Stanford guard David Yankey were named the winners of the Pac-12's 33rd annual Morris Trophy on Tuesday.

The key attribute of the Morris Trophy is the selection procedure: The league’s starting offensive linemen vote for the defensive winner and vice versa. So it's guys rewarding the player they think is the best.

Learn about past winners here.

Here's the rest of the release from the Pac-12:
Yankey, a 6-foot-5, 301-pound junior from Roswell, Ga., is a 13-game starter for the Cardinal. He anchors an offensive line that allowed a Conference-low 17 sacks (1.42 per game) during the regular season while paving the way for a rushing attack that averaged 173.58 yards per game on the ground during the regular season. Yankey, who is a first team All-Pac-12 selection and an American Football Coaches of America (AFCA) All-American, has played four of the five positions on the offensive line and has lined up at tight end this season. He is the second Stanford offensive lineman, and the third Cardinal lineman overall, to win the Morris Trophy.

Sutton, a 6-foot-1, 267-pound redshirt junior from Corona, Calif., leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the FBS with 1.82 tackles for loss per game (20 total). He also ranks 13th in the nation (third in the Conference) with .95 sacks per game (10.5 total) and paces a Sun Devil defense that has averaged 4.0 sacks and 8.83 tackles for loss per game in 2012; both figures rank second nationally. Sutton earned a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week nod after collecting eight tackles (six solo), including three sacks, and forced a fumble in a victory over California. A first team AFCA All-American, he is the fifth Sun Devil to win the Morris Trophy and the third ASU defensive lineman to earn the honor.

The Morris Trophy is sponsored by the Washington Athletic Club, the 101 club, Athletic Awards of Seattle and the Morris Trophy Foundation. It was created by Traci (Morris) Drake in 1980 and named after her father, G. Patrick Morris, who was its sponsor for 29 years. Yankey and Sutton will be presented their awards at a luncheon at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle on Jan. 17, 2013.

Season grade: Utah

January, 23, 2012
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The 2011 season is over. That means report cards are due.

Up next: Utah

Offense: The Utes ranked 12 in the Pac-12 in total offense with 310.9 yards per game and ninth in the conference in scoring offense with 25 points per game. The Utes, after losing quarterback Jordan Wynn to a shoulder injury in game four against Washington, basically leaned on running back John White and their tough defense. White ranked 11th in the nation with 116.9 ypg, and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors, but the Utes ranked last in the conference in passing yards per game and 10th in passing efficiency. They gave up a lot of sacks -- 2.58 per game -- and were terrible on third down, ranking last in the conference in conversion rate. Still, Jon Hays, a transfer from Nebraska-Omaha who replaced Wynn, became a good enough game manager that the Utes won five of their last six games, including a dramatic comeback against Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

Grade: C-

Defense: The Utes ranked 19th in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (20.2 ppg) and third in the Pac-12 in total defense (350.9 ypg). They were No. 1 in the conference in passing efficiency defense and No. 3 in run defense (113.54 ypg). The Utes were good -- but not great -- at pressuring the quarterback (2.5 sacks per game ranking fifth in the conference) and they were good -- but not great -- on third down, ranking fifth in conversion defense. What they were particularly good at, however, was take-aways. They led the conference with 32 take-aways, including 19 interceptions. Two defensive linemen, tackle Star Lotulelei, who won the Morris Trophy as the conference's best defensive lineman, and end Derrick Shelby won first-team All-Pac-12 honors.

Grade: B+

Overall: The Utes would have won the South Division if they didn't gag at home on the regular-season's final weekend in a surprising loss to Colorado. But they bounced back from that with an impressive overtime victory over Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. An 8-5 finish with a 4-5 record in conference play ain't too shabby for a team that made the move from the Mountain West into an AQ conference. Some wondered if the Utes could handle the weekly grind of Pac-12 play. They did and ended up with the third most wins in the league. Further, if they can figure things out at quarterback, the Utes look like they could be a factor in the South in 2012.

Grade: B

Paea, Smith win Morris Trophy

December, 20, 2010
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USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith and Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea have been named winners of the 31st annual Morris Trophy, the Pac-10 announced Monday.

The Morris Trophy is given to the outstanding offensive and defensive linemen in the Pac-10. What makes the award unique is the selection procedure, which has the starting offensive linemen in the conference voting for the defensive winner and vice versa.

So the guys who faced Smith and Paea think they are the best, and you'd think they'd have a pretty good idea. Paea won the vote for a second consecutive year.

Smith, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound junior from Moreno Valley, Calif., was named a first-team All-Pac-10 performer in voting by the Pac-10 head coaches. He is a two-year starter for the Trojans. USC linemen have earned the offensive side of the Morris Trophy 11 times in 31 years.

Smith has already said he will enter the NFL draft this spring.

Paea, a 6-foot-1, 311-pound senior from Los Altos, Calif., also received the 2010 Pac-10 Conference Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year honor as selected by the conference head coaches. He finished the season with 45 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks. He also caused four fumbles during the season and is the new Oregon State record-holder for career forced fumbles with nine. Paea, a consensus 2010 All-America selection, joins three former Pac-10 defensive players as two-time recipients of the Morris Trophy (Arizona’s Dana Wells 1987-88; Washington’s Steve Emtman, 1990-91; USC’s Sedrick Ellis 2006-07).

NFL can wait for Beavers' Paea

April, 9, 2010
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A few years ago, Oregon State's Stephen Paea didn't know anything about football. A few months ago, however, he was deciding whether it was going to make him rich this spring.

Despite a deep draft class at defensive tackle, it's hard to believe Paea would have lasted past the third round. His pure power and explosiveness suggest tremendous upside, even more so when you consider he didn't start playing the game until his senior year of high school.

"He is one of the best tackles I've coached at any level," Beavers coach Mike Riley said.

[+] EnlargeStephen Paea
Ric Tapia/Icon SMIDefensive tackle Stephen Paea will use another year at Oregon State to prepare for the NFL.
But he opted to come back for his senior season for a variety of reasons.

"I just don't feel it was my turn to go to the league," Paea said. "I feel like I owe Oregon State a favor to come back and finish school. ... If not for Oregon State, I don't think I'd have these honors."

His honors include the Morris Trophy, which is given annually to the Pac-10's top defensive lineman as voted on by opposing offensive linemen.

Paea's numbers are good but won't blow anyone away. Over the past two seasons, he has recorded 19.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. But he's faced double-teams much of the time and still managed to be a disruptive force in the middle.

Not that he can't get better. He's been watching film of soon-to-be top-five picks Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh (On Suh: "He's a playmaker. He's a linebacker in a three-point stance.") as well as NFL Hall of Famer John Randall, trying to learn the finer points of playing defensive tackle.

Much of what he needs to do to get better should come just from seeing more action. He arrived at Oregon State after two years of junior college -- one as a redshirt -- but nonetheless broke into the starting lineup.

"I feel like my eyes need to get better," he said. "Sometimes the play is right there but I don't come off the block and make the play. I see how Suh and Gerald McCoy do that. That's their experience."

One things is certain: The now 310-pound Paea will test well at the NFL combine. He was recently captured on YouTube bench pressing 225 pounds 44 times. The NFL combine record is 45 repetitions, which is shared by three players, including former Arkansas offensive lineman Mitch Petrus this year. And the former rugby star is not just a meathead. His quickness is nearly as impressive as his strength. His highlight videos offer many examples of him running down plays.

But Paea said the NFL isn't front and center. The Beavers should again be in the thick of the Rose Bowl race, and he knows that he's a big reason why.

If he produces up to expectations, then he and the Beavers should thrive. And the NFL will be watching.

"I'm going to forget about the league and just play," he said. "Film doesn't lie. I've got to stay hungry and play every play like it's fourth-and-1."

Paea is a freak of nature

March, 17, 2010
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OK, this just blew my mind.

I've previously written about the extraordinary raw strength of Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea.

Click the link above to see for yourself.

In the video, Paea bench presses 225 pounds 44 times.

44 times! Are you kidding me!

The NFL combine record is 45 repetitions, which is shared by three players, including former Arkansas offensive lineman Mitch Petrus this year.

I got $5 that says Paea gets 50 next spring.

Paea is the 2009 Morris Trophy winner, which is given annually to the most outstanding offensive or defensive lineman in the Pac-10.

And it's fair to say that he may be the strongest player in college football.

Brown and Paea win Pac-10's Morris Trophy

December, 15, 2009
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USC offensive tackle Charles Brown and Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea are the winners of the 30th annual Morris Trophy, which is given annually to the most outstanding offensive and defensive lineman in the Pac-10.

The winners were selected by a vote of opposing offensive and defensive linemen, so Brown and Paea received high marks from the men they banged helmets with.

Both Brown and Paea were selected as first-team All-Pac-10 picks, but UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price was Defensive Player of the Year as voted on by the coaches.

Brown, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior from Chino Hills, Calif., and Paea, a 6-foot-1, 285-pound junior from Los Altos, Calif., are both two-year starters.

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