Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA clean up in AP midseason Pac-12 awards
With the college football regular season halfway through already, the Associated Press polled its writers covering various Pac-12 programs for a midseason rundown of the best and worst through the first six weeks.
UCLA cleaned up in the best kind of way.
Fifth-year quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was named the top offensive player in the league, Chip Kelly was named the top coach in the league, and UCLA was named the best surprise of the first half of the season.
On Thompson-Robinson, the AP wrote the following:
The Bruins’ quarterback has been a huge part of their resurgence.
A solid player his first four seasons at UCLA, he’s been one of the nation’s best quarterbacks through six games. Thompson-Robinson has been a threat with his arms and his legs, passing for 1,510 yards and 15 TDs, adding 231 yards and four more scores rushing.
It’s the efficiency in DTR’s game that has really allowed him to flourish in Year 5 with Kelly. He’s currently the highest-scoring Pac-12 quarterback in ESPN’s Total QBR metric (and the sixth-best nationally), he currently leads all Pac-12 throwers in completion percentage (74.8%, a mark that ranks second nationally), and he has the best traditional quarterback rating (180.6, sixth-best nationally).
On Kelly, the AP had this to say:
The former Oregon and NFL coach has slowly returned the Bruins to respectability, winning eight games a year ago then becoming one of the surprises of the 2022 college football season.
UCLA (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) was questioned through a soft nonconference schedule, particularly a close home win over South Alabama. The 11th-ranked Bruins have proven they are for real the past two weeks, knocking off then-No. 15 Washington and No. 20 Utah. UCLA has a big test this (next) weekend at No. 12 Oregon.
The unbeaten Bruins are off to their best start since opening the 2005 season with eight straight wins and have their highest ranking in the AP poll since reaching No. 7 in 2015. They were picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 in the preseason, but at the midway point look like a team that could absolutely make a run at the College Football Playoff.
Other AP superlatives included:
- Top defensive player: USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu
- Top first-year freshman: Cal’s Jaydn Ott
- Top first-year transfer: Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.
- Most surprising player: Arizona’s Jacob Cowing
- Most disappointing team: Stanford
- Hottest seat: Stanford’s David Shaw