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Pac-12 All-Half-Decade Team: The best Pac-12 players of the first half of the 10s

The first half of the 10s are already over... who were the best Pac-12 players of the era?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


QB Marcus Mariota - Oregon 2012-14

Easy choice here - no other quarterback won more, put up more stats and racked up more accolades in the first half of the 10s than Mariota. He would get a lot of consideration to be the QB on a greatest of all-time Pac-12 team.

Honorable mention - Matt Barkley (USC), Brett Hundley (UCLA), Andrew Luck (Stanford) Sean Mannion (Oregon State), Darron Thomas (Oregon)

RB LaMichael James - Oregon 2010-11

The first star to burst out of Chip Kelly's scheme, James would almost assuredly be the Pac-12's all-time rushing leader had he stayed for his senior season and remained healthy. Oregon has produced a plethora of productive backs since the dawn of the Chip Kelly, but none have been as effective, prolific or as successful as James was.

RB Ka'Deem Carey - Arizona 2011-13

Carey ran for more than 4,200 yards and scored 48 touchdowns in just three years. No recent Pac-12 back more than exemplifies the idea of a franchise back that carries his team on his back. Carey was also a huge catalyst for some of the best consistent success that the Arizona program has ever had.

Honorable mention - Kenjon Barner (Oregon), Johnathan Franklin (UCLA) Tyler Gaffney (Stanford), Chris Polk (Washington), Bishop Sankey (Washington), Stepfan Taylor (Stanford)

WR Marqise Lee - USC 2011-13

Lee put together one of the best seasons ever by a receiver in 2012 as he tallied an amazing 118 receptions for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. He may have disappointed with injuries in his junior season, but he was basically almost a star running back for the Trojans as a freshman and sophomore with how prolific he was.

WR Brandin Cooks - Oregon State 2011-13

Cooks one-upped Lee in 2013 with a 128-reception, 1,730-yard and 16-touchdown season (He also ran for 217 yards and two scores). His career seemed to fly by, but it was incredibly prolific as he also had more than 1,100 yards as a sophomore in 2012.

Honorable mention - Markus Wheaton (Oregon State), Robert Woods (USC)

TE Zach Ertz - Stanford 2010-12

Stanford has had some great tight ends in the Harbaugh/Shaw era, but none have been as valuable as Ertz. He was especially impressive as a senior when he had 69 catches for nearly 900 yards and was best when the game was on the line.

Honorable mention - Coby Fleener (Stanford), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington)

OL David DeCastro - Stanford 2010-11

DeCastro was one of those rare offensive linemen that stood out and who even a casual football fan could tell was making a huge difference out there. Of all the great linemen to play for Stanford in the Harbaugh/Shaw era, he is my easy choice for the best.

OL David Yankey - Stanford 2010-13

Yankey kind of took DeCastro's flag and became the next mauling Stanford All-American offensive lineman. He was the best lineman in the Pac-12 for a couple of years.

OL Chase Beeler - Stanford 2010

A one-year wonder for this list, Beeler was a consensus All-American in 2010 as one of the flag bearers of the punishment that Stanford would inflict on the conference.

OL Jonathan Martin - Stanford 2010-11

Martin is now well known for being victimized by Richie Incognito, but before that he teamed with DeCastro to form one of the best offensive lines in Pac-12 history. He was a two-time All-American and two-time first-team All-Pac-12er.

OL Jake Fisher - Oregon 2011-14

Hroniss Grasu may have ended up being more decorated, but I think Fisher was the heart and soul of the line on Oregon's great teams the past few years and the most important player in the group. His biggest impact may have been actually toughening up Oregon's front as a nasty enforcer.

Honorable mention - Hroniss Grasu (Oregon), Matt Kalil (USC), Andrus Peat (Stanford)


DL Will Sutton - Arizona State 2010-13

Two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Sutton was maybe the most versatile defensive lineman to ever play in the Pac-12. It seemed like he was holding down the Sun Devil defense all by himself for a couple of years.

DL Leonard Williams - USC 2012-14

Williams might be the most-talented defensive lineman to ever play in the Pac-12 as he dominated the line of scrimmage the past few seasons.

DL Stephen Paea - Oregon State 2010

Paea only had one year in this half-decade, but it was quite a year. One of the strongest players I have ever seen in the conference, he was a consensus All-American and monster against the run.

DL Star Lotulelei - Utah 2010-12

An absolute anchor on the defense, Lotulelei was as big of an asset against the run as any defender in recent Pac-12 history.

Honorable mention - Hau'oli Kikaha (Washington), Danny Shelton (Washington)

LB Trent Murphy - Stanford 2010-13

Murphy got my vote for Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2013 when he led a Stanford defense that fueled Stanford to a Rose Bowl. He played a huge part in turning Stanford into a complete national power by taking their defense to the next level.

LB Anthony Barr - UCLA 2010-13

As good of a pass-rushing linebacker as I can ever remember. He played a big part in shoring up UCLA's toughness and defense image.

LB Scooby Wright III - Arizona 2013-14

Wright was arguably the best defender in the nation as a sophomore.

Honorable mention - Eric Kendricks (UCLA), Shayne Skov (Stanford), Chase Thomas (Stanford), Shaq Thompson (Washington)

DB Jordan Poyer - Oregon State - 2010-12

A consensus All-American in 2012, Poyer is the only defensive back I would put here with confidence. He was an interception machine as a Beaver with 11 in his final two seasons.

DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu - Oregon - 2011-14

Ekpre-Olomu got a bit overrated and battled injuries as a senior, but he was lights out as a sophomore and junior. He was as good of a cornerback against the run as you will ever find.

DB Ed Reynolds - Stanford - 2011-13

Like Murphy, Reynold played a big part in turning Stanford's defense into the nation's best. He had the rare ability to be part of Stanford's bruising run defense while also dropping back and snagging interceptions.

DB T.J. McDonald - USC - 2010-12

McDonald was the leader of a Trojan defense that had some great moments early in the decade.

Honorable mention - Deone Bucannon (Washington State), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Desmond Trufant (Washington)

Special Teams

K Zane Gonzalez - Arizona State 2013-14

P Tom Hackett - Utah 2012-14

R Ty Montgomery - Stanford 2011-14