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2018 Pacific Takes Pac-12 Football Awards: Myles Gaskin, Chase Hansen & Mike Leach take top honors

It’s time to hand out awards for the 2018 season.

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Player of the Year - Myles Gaskin Sr. RB Washington - This wasn’t Gaskin’s best year statistically so this is almost like a lifetime achievement award for him a little bit. Mostly it boils down to him being the most valuable player on the conference’s best team, which really showed as he was injured in Washington’s only conference losses. 2nd Gardner Minshew Sr. QB Washington State 3rd Eno Benjamin So. RB Arizona State

Defensive Player of the Year - Chase Hansen Sr. LB Utah - It was a tight race between BBK and Hansen, but I’ll give Hansen the easy edge because he made way more explosive plays for his team. He wasn’t just one of the nation’s best tacklers, he also racked up a huge amount of tackles for-loss and sacks and some interceptions, including a pick six. 2nd Ben Burr-Kirven Sr. LB Washington 3rd Jordan Kunaszyk Sr. LB Cal

Coach of the Year - Mike Leach Washington State - I feel like this is becoming an annual affair. Leach takes a WSU team with zero pre-season expectations to the brink of a Pac-12 Championship Game, but stumbles against Washington. It’s always an impressive feat, especially with the tragedy that rocked WSU last off-season. Maybe it’s time we give the Cougars more respect going into the season though. 2nd Justin Wilcox Cal 3rd Kyle Whittingham Utah

Special Teams Player of the Year - Mitch Wishnowsky Sr. P Utah - Another lifetime achievement award. Wishnowsky just had yet another year as the Pac-12’s best punter. He’ll be missed by Utah sorely when he’s gone. 2nd Matt Gay Jr, K Utah 3rd Jet Toner So. K Stanford

Freshman of the Year - Jermar Jefferson RB Oregon State - The true freshman was arguably the best running back in the conference this year, running for more than 1,300 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns. He’s going to be the next great Beaver back. 2nd Abe Lucas T Washington State 3rd Paulson Adebo CB Stanford

Transfer of the Year - Gardner Minshew Sr. QB Washington State - The East Carolina/Mississippi mustache man brought a lot of magic to Pullman and was Luke Falk and then some for a Cougar team that needed a lot at QB this year. He was the main reason the Cougars were a CFP contender until the end of the regular season. 2nd Joshua Kelley Jr. RB UCLA 3rd Travon McMillian Sr. RB Colorado

Most-Improved Player of the Year - Dillon Mitchell Jr. WR Oregon - Mitchell flashed as a talented freshman and sophomore, but was nowhere near the unstoppable force he was for much of his junior season. He seemed to be Oregon’s entire offense at times and regularly kept them going when their running game, and Justin Herbert were struggling. 2nd Eno Benjamin So. RB Arizona State 3rd Laviska Shenault So. WR Colorado

Comeback Player of the Year - Peyton Pelleur Sr. LB Washington State - Pelleur got an extra year after missing almost all of last year and came back as one of the Pac-12’s best linebackers. A feel-good story for the conference. 2nd Caleb Wilson Jr. TE UCLA 3rd Britain Covey So. WR Utah

Coordinator of the Year - Tim DeRutyer Defensive Coordinator Cal - Cal road a lights out defense to their first bowl game in years and an upset of Washington. DeRuyter put together a unit that was every bit as good as Washington and Utah’s at points during the season. 2nd Morgan Scalley DC Utah 3rd Jimmy Lake DC Washington

Game of the Year - Washington at Oregon - The Ducks and Huskies fought it out for four quarters and an overtime in one of the tightest games possible with the home team winning in exciting fashion. This bitter rivalry should keep getting bigger and bigger as long as both teams are on the same level. 2nd Oregon at Washington State 3rd Washington State at Stanford

Surprise of the Year - Gardner Minshew & the Cougars - No one, even hardcore Cougar fans saw WSU being a CFP contender the entire regular season and Gardner Minshew being a Heisman candidate. Minshew and the Cougars’ massive run was the story of the year in the conference. 2nd UCLA’s horrible start and shocking recovery 3rd Unknown stars emerge (Minshew, Benjamin, Mitchell, Jefferson, Shenault, Kelley)

Disappointment of the Year - USC - I think the preseason South favorites just not winning the division would have been as a disappointment for USC going into 2018. Going 5-7 and missing a bowl is an absolute disaster, especially in a year where the South was beyond wide open. 2nd Bryce Love 3rd Justin Herbert