WSU’s Cody O'Connell, who’s also up for the Outland Trophy, has been named to the Pro Football Focus All-America first team
Washington State offensive guard Cody O’Connell has been named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus.
O’Connell is also one of five finalists for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman in college football. He’ll be in Atlanta, Ga. on Thursday for the College Football Awards Show at the College Football Hall of Fame.
O’Connell, a junior, is the first WSU offensive lineman to be named a finalist for the Outland Trophy since Rien Long won the award in 2002.
O’Connell played in all 12 games for WSU at left guard this year, starting 11. The 6-foot-8, 354-pound Wenatchee native has consistently been rated the best at his position by Pro Football Focus this season, and he earned three bone awards this season — which the WSU coaching staff gives to the best offensive lineman after every game.
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“Cody O’Connell from Washington State impressed in pass protection, as a run blocker and on screens to earn his spot here,” Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness wrote.
WSU right tackle Cole Madison was named a Pro Football Focus second-team All-American. Madison, a junior, started every game for WSU this season and earned three bone awards.
Pro Football Focus has been very complimentary of WSU’s offensive line this season. In its rankings of the top 10 offensive line units nationally, Pro Football Focus’s Steve Palazzolo has WSU ranked as the nation’s seventh-best offensive line unit, with a grade of 83.8.
Here’s how PFF assessed WSU’s offensive line:
There’s no doubting that Washington State’s Air Raid system aids in their success, but the unit has still exceeded their high expectations this season. They’ve dropped back to pass 670 times, allowing only 80 pressures, good for a 90.5 pass blocking efficiency that ranks fourth in the nation. They’ve run blocked better than most Mike Leach-led teams, particularly at guard where Cody O’Connell’s 91.7 overall grade ranks second in the country and his 85.4 run block grade leads the team. The entire line ranks among the top players at their respective positions as the offensive line has been the foundation of Washington State’s high-powered offense.
Madison and O’Connell were both named All-Pac-12 honorable mention selections last week, but were omitted from the first and second teams.