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Nov. 24, 1997

Tillman Named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Arizona State linebacker Pat Tillman has been named Pacific-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today. The Sun Devils also garnered six first-team, four second-team and seven honorable mention All-Pac-10 selections. ASU's six first-teamers was the second-most in the league behind only Washington.

Pat Tillman
Pat Tillman leads the Sun Devils with 13 tackles this season. (File Photo)

Sun Devils on the first-team included offensive linemen Kyle Murphy and Grey Ruegamer, defensive back Mitchell Freedman, punter Marcus Williams, all-purpose player J.R. Redmond and Tillman. Tillman was one of only three players to be named first-team on the All-Conference and the All-Academic football teams.

ASU's second-teamers were defensive tackle Jeremy Staat, defensive backs Jason Simmons and Damien Richardson, and kicker Robert Nycz. Honorable mention went out to defensive end Vince Amey, offensive tackle Glen Gable, cornerback Courtney Jackson, wide receiver Lenzie Jackson, tailback Michael Martin, defensive end Hamilton Mee and tight end Zack Romero.

Tillman, a senior from San Jose, Calif., is the leader of the Arizona State unit that leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense, allowing just 17.5 points per game. With one game still to play, he leads the Sun Devils and is among the Conference leaders with 80 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss. He also shares the team lead in interceptions with three. Tillman is the undisputed leader of an ASU defense that, in addition to leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense, has allowed a league-low nine rushing touchdowns and has permitted opponents to complete just 47.5% of their passes. The Sun Devils have not allowed a first-quarter touchdown all season and have shut out nine of 10 opponents in the first quarter. A standout in the classroom as well, Tillman is a two-time Pac-10 All-Academic Team selection and a GTE Academic All-District performer by virtue of a 3.82 grade-point average in marketing.

"Pound for pound, he is the best linebacker I've ever coached," says Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder of the 5-foot-11, 206-pound Tillman.

Washington State head coach Mike Price, who guided the Cougars to their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1931, was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year while his quarterback, Ryan Leaf, was named the leagues Offensive Player of the Year.

The All-Pac-10 football team in its entirety:

First Team Offense                      Second-Team Offense
QB Ryan Leaf, Jr., WSU                  QB Cade McNown, Jr., UCLA
RB Skip Hicks, Sr., UCLA                RB Michael Black, Sr., WSU
RB Rashaan Shehee, Sr., Washington      RB Saladin McCullough, Sr., Oregon
WR Jerome Pathon, Sr., Washington       WR Jim McElroy, Sr., UCLA
WR Bobby Shaw, Sr., California          WR Troy Walters, Jr., Stanford
TE Cameron Cleeland, Sr., Washington    TE Blake Spence, Sr., Oregon
OL Chad Overhauser, Sr., UCLA           OL Jason McEndoo, Sr., WSU
OL Olin Kreutz, Jr., Washington         OL Jeremy Newberry, Jr., California
OL Kyle Murphy, Sr., ASU                OL Jose Portilla, Sr., Arizona
OL Grey Ruegamer, Jr., ASU              OL Cory Withrow, Sr., WSU
OL Benji Olson, Jr., Washington         OL Tony Coats, Jr., Washington
First-Team Defense                      Second-Team Defense
DE Kailee Wong, Sr., Stanford           DE Dorian Boose, Sr., WSU
DT Joe Salave'a, Sr., Arizona           DT Jeremy Staat, Sr., ASU
DT Leon Bender, St., WSU                DT Brandon Whiting, Sr., California
DE Jason Chorak, Sr., Washingon         DE Inoke Breckterfield, Jr., Oregon State
OLB Pat Tillman, Sr., ASU               OLB Danjuan Magee, Sr., UCLA
ILB Chris Claiborne, So., USC           ILB Chris Draft, Sr., Stanford
OLB Jerry Jensen, Sr., Washington       OLB Peter Sirmon, So., Oregon
DB Brian Kelly, Sr., USC                DB Tony Parrish, Sr., Washington
DB Chris McAlister, Jr., Arizona        DB Jason Simmons, Sr., ASU
DB Mitchell Freedman, Jr., ASU          DB Damien Richardson, Sr., ASU
DB Shaun Williams, Sr., UCLA            DB Duane Stewart, Sr., WSU
                                        DB Larry Atkins, Jr., UCLA
First Team Specialists                  Second-Team Specialists
PK Chris Sailer, Jr., UCLA              PK Robert Nycz, Sr., ASU
P Marcus Williams, Sr., ASU              P Jeff Banks, Sr., WSU
RS Troy Walters, Jr., Stanford          RS Pat Johnson, Sr., Oregon
ST John McLaughlin, Jr., Cal            ST Reggie Davis, Jr., Washington
ST Eric Winn, Sr., Oregon
AP J.R. Redmond, So., ASU               AP R. Jay Soward, So., USC
RS=return specialist
ST=special teams player (non-kicker or returner)
AP=all-purpose player
Offensive Player of the Year: Ryan Leaf, QB, Jr., WSU
Defensive Player of the Year: Pat Tillman, OLB, ASU
Pac-10 Coach of the Year: Mike Price, Washington State

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