SEATTLE — Four days before the No. 4 Huskies play for their first Pac-12 championship in 16 years, sophomore quarterback Jake Browning was named the conference’s offensive player of the year — the first Husky so honored since Marques Tuiasosopo 16 years ago.
Bigger things could be in store for Browning and the Huskies (11-1), who won their first Pac-12 North title and will play No. 9 Colorado (10-2) on Friday for the conference championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
A school-record nine Huskies were named to the All-Pac-12 first team, with junior safety Budda Baker and junior cornerback Sidney Jones selected to the first team for the second year in a row.
Joining them on defense are first-time selections Elijah Qualls, a junior defensive tackle, and junior linebacker Azeem Victor, out for the rest of the season with a broken leg. For the second year in a row, the Huskies had the Pac-12’s top-ranked scoring defense.
Taylor Rapp, a true freshman safety from Bellingham’s Sehome High School, was named the Pac-12’s freshman defensive player of the year — the first Husky tabbed the conference’s top newcomer.
UW offense, which also led the Pac-12 in scoring, had five first-team selections: Browning, sophomore left tackle Trey Adams, senior left guard Jake Eldrenkamp, sophomore running back Myles Gaskin and junior receiver John Ross III.
Browning is the fifth Husky to win the conference’s offensive player of the year honors, joining Tuiasosopo (2000), Mario Bailey (1991), Greg Lewis (1990) and Steve Pelluer (1983).
Browning is also the first Husky quarterback to earn first-team all-conference recognition since Tuiasosopo in 2000. Adams and Eldrenkamp are the first Huskies to earn first-team honors on the offensive line since Kyle Benn in 2001. And Ross is the first UW receiver to earn first-team recognition since Reggie Williams in 2002 and ’03.
Junior linebacker Keishawn Bierria, sophomore defensive tackle Vita Vea, junior center Coleman Shelton and junior wide receiver Dante Pettis were named to the all-Pac-12 second team.
UW’s honorable-mention selections were senior cornerback Kevin King, senior linebacker Psalm Wooching, sophomore defensive tackle Greg Gaines, sophomore tight end Drew Sample and senior tight end Darrell Daniels.
The 19 UW players recognized by the Pac-12 is also believed to be a school record.
The awards are determined by a vote of league coaches.
Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre was named the Pac-12 coach of the year after orchestrating the greatest one-year turnaround in conference history.
Defensive back Adoree’ Jackson of USC was named Pat Tillman defensive player of the year; QB Sam Darnold of USC was freshman offensive player of the year.
BROWNING FOR HEISMAN?: For weeks, it has felt like a foregone conclusion that Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson will be the runaway Heisman Trophy winner.
Don’t forget about Browning.
Several national media outlets have Washington’s sophomore quarterback in the hunt in their Heisman watch list this week, thanks to Browning’s strong performance in the Huskies’ 45-17 romp past Washington State in Friday’s Apple Cup.
USA Today’s Paul Myberg wrote the chase to catch Jackson “may be down to one hope: Washington quarterback Jake Browning.”
Browning, second in the FBS with 40 touchdown passes, will have a chance to impress Heisman voters in the Pac-12 championship game against No. 9 Colorado. The game will be on Fox nationally starting at 6 p.m.
Jackson and Louisville, coming off back-to-back losses, have concluded their regular season.
Only one player in UW history — Steve Emtman, who finished fourth in 1991 — has been invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Typically, three to six finalists are invited to the ceremony.
Votes from 870 media members, plus 58 former Heisman winners, are due by 2 p.m. PT Monday. Heisman finalists will then be announced Monday night, and the Heisman ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 10.