Defensive end Tyler Johnson leads Arizona State All-Pac-12 selections

Michelle Gardner
Arizona Republic
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Nov 27, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive lineman Tyler Johnson (41) celebrates after defeating the Arizona Wildcats during the 95th Territorial Cup game at Sun Devil Stadium.

Senior defensive end Tyler Johnson heads a group of 13 Arizona State football players recognized in All-Pac-12 selections voted on by member coaches and released by the conference on Tuesday.

This is the second all-conference recognition for the Gilbert Highland High School product, who was a second-team selection for the shortened 2020 campaign.

Johnson finished the 2021 season with 33 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks. He also forced a fumble, had two fumble recoveries and three pass breakups, highlighted by a 32-yard fumble return to inside the five-yard line.

He graded out as the seventh-highest edge defender in the Pac-12 overall (76.5) and fourth among edge defenders in the league on run defense (79.6). The latter is notable as Johnson entered the season with a career run defense grade of 53.6. He had 18 stops on run defense, good for seventh among Pac-12 edge defenders

The 8.5 tackles for loss brought his career total in that category to 29.5 while also posting 15.5 career sacks.

Johnson was ASU's lone first-team choice.Five others were selected to the second team: Running back Rachaad White, linebacker Darien Butler, defensive lineman D.J. Davidson and offensive linemen Kellen Diesch and Dohnovan West.

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Oct 8, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee (18) is sacked by Arizona State Sun Devils defensive lineman Tyler Johnson (41) during PAC-12 action at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

The five second-team picks were the most for the program since the 2013 season. Arizona State's six first- or second-team all-conference honorees were the fourth-most in the Pac-12.  

Honorable mention accolades went to wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, tight end Curtis Hodges, offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson, linebacker Merlin Robertson, and defensive backs Chase Lucas, Jack Jones, and DeAndre Pierce.

The 13 players honored gave the program its most all-conference nods since the 2014 season.

Arizona had seven representatives, with junior wide receiver and return specialist Stanley Berryhill named as all-purpose and punter Kyle Ostendorp chosen to first team and sophomore defensive lineman Kyon Barrs selected to second team. Honorable mention went to kicker Lucas Havrisik, defensive lineman Trevon Mason, offensive lineman Josh McCauley and linebacker Anthony Pandy.

Wide receiver Drake London of USC was voted Offensive Player of the Year despite a broken ankle sustained in the eighth game of the season against Arizona. He finished with 88 receptions for 1,721 yards with six games in which he racked up more than 100 receiving yards.

Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd was named Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year.  He recorded a career-high 106 tackles, including 22 tackles for a loss. He was the MVP in the Utes' Pac-12 championship game win over Oregon.

Top freshmen honors went to Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura (offensive) and Utah defensive tackle Junior Tafuna (defense).

Utah's Kyle Whittingham was named coach of the year for the second time in three seasons. He is also one of 13 finalists for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year honor.

First-team honors were nearly even across the Pac-12 North (15) and Pac-12 South (14), with South Division champion Utah leading the way with six, followed by North Division champion Oregon with five. Across both first- and second-team selections, Utah led the way with 10, followed by UCLA (nine), Oregon (seven), and ASU (six) with all 12 schools represented.

More:Former ASU football coach under fire over alleged mistreatment, abuse of players

Reach the reporter at or 602 444-4783.  Follow her on Twitter @MGardnerSports.

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