Love, Pettis, Mata’afa named first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated

Stanford RB Bryce Love, Washington wide receiver and punt returner Dante Pettis and Washington State lineman Hercules Mata’afa were all named first-team All-Americans by Sports Illustrated on Monday.

Love, the Heisman runner-up, was one of the most electric players in college football this season and was named the Doak Walker Award winner and the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. Here is what SI wrote about Love:

Love had Barry Sanders’s single-season rushing record in his sights when a midseason high ankle sprain curbed his explosiveness down the stretch—but only slightly. After posting a run of 60 yards or more in six of his first seven games, he failed to break one that long in his final five games, finishing the year with a measly 1,973 yards and 8.3 yards per carry.

Pettis broke the NCAA career record for punt return touchdowns this season (9) and is also the NCAA record holder for most punt return yards. He returned 4 punts for touchdowns this season alone.

Mata’afa has established himself as the most dominant defender in the Pac-12, even though he lost out on Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year to Washington’s Vita Vea. Vea, for his part, was named to Sports Illustrated’s second-team. Here is what SI wrote about Mata’afa:

Mata’afa landed in the top 10 nationally with 9.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss—and he missed two games and sat out virtually the entire second half of a third after a targeting ejection in the Apple Cup.

Pettis has one more game left with the Huskies, the Fiesta Bowl versus Penn State. Love and Mata’afa could return to the Pac-12 next season, though both seem to have a future in the NFL and could choose to pursue that dream.

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