Sun Devils have 3 players featured on PFF’s 2019 All-Pac-12 first team
Three Arizona State Sun Devils — Eno Benjamin, Brandon Aiyuk and Michael Turk — occupied four spots on Pro Football Focus’ 2019 All-Pac-12 team that was released on Monday.
Benjamin was the publication’s selection at the running back position, while Aiyuk was one of three wide receivers selected and also was listed a second time as a punt returner. Michael Turk, of course, was the punter.
Both have had strong seasons for the Sun Devils.
Aiyuk, following the departure of N’Keal Harry to the New England Patriots via the draft, has been a major threat on the ASU offense this season. The Reno, Nev. native played two seasons of junior college football at Sierra College before coming to the Sun Devils last season, when he made 33 catches for 474 yards.
This year, that production went up to 65 catches for 1,192 yards, both of which lead the team. He has scored eight receiving touchdowns, which is tied with Frank Darby for the most on the team. A big part of his production can be attributed to his speed and ability to make defenders miss on tackles.
Aiyuk showcased his blazing speed and route-running ability week in and week out, posting the conferences best yards per route run at 3.04. He was among the best at the position in the Pac-12 in various areas, nabbing 18.3 yards per reception (second), 10.9 yards after the catch per reception (first), 14 missed tackles forced (tied for fourth) and a 133.9 passer rating when targeted (third).
As a punt-returner, Aiyuk had the third-highest grade in the nation, PFF wrote.
Benjamin, who has been a top producer for ASU in consecutive years, hardly needs an introduction. The junior running back led the team with 12 touchdowns this year, rushing for 1,083 yards in 12 games.
He was elusive with the ball in his hands in the open field, forcing 63 missed tackles, a mark that only Zack Moss surpassed in the Pac-12. Benjamin did damage in the receiving game, too, grabbing 42 receptions for 346 yards, two touchdowns and nine more missed tackles forced.
Redshirt sophomore punter Michael Turk was in his first season with ASU, which last year featured Michael Sleep-Dalton as its punter.
The highest-graded punter in the Pac-12 and the seventh-highest in the nation, Turk consistently forced the opposition deep into their own territory. He had 36 punts that ended within the 20, which is the third-most, including a long of 75 on the year. He also recorded an average hangtime of 4.32, tied for the third-best among all punters.
Other Sun Devils appeared on PFF’s second- and third-team for the All-Pac-12 squad. Dohnovan West made third-team as an offensive guard, Jermayne Lole was second-team edge rusher, Kobe Williams was third-team cornerback, Cam Phillips was an honorable mention at safety, Aashari Crosswell was a third-team pick at safety and Aiyuk was again selected as second-team kick returner.