A few days removed from the official end of the 2011 regular season, everyone will admit that this year has been a disappointment for the Arizona St. Sun Devils. Monday, however, brought a bit of a happy ending for a handful of ASU upperclassmen as seniors Garth Gerhart and Clint Floyd made the All Pac-12 Conference Second Team alongside junior Jamal Miles. Despite such a gloomy season finish, this occasion gives all of us the chance to celebrate some of ASU's best players.
In his four years at ASU, Gerhart has turned into a model of consistency at center. He started all 12 games last season and was only one of three returning centers to the Pac-12 this season. He has started 38 total games for the Sun Devils and played a central role with the offensive line during that time.
Floyd, the senior safety, led the Sun Devils defense in takeaways this season, coming up with five turnovers on the strength of two fumbles and three interceptions. His season was a story of two halves, featuring lots of takeaways in the first half and lots of tackling in the second half when opposing receivers were gutting the ASU secondary. Floyd also finished the season with 62 total tackles, fourth-best on the team.
Miles, meanwhile, shined as ASU's Mr. Versatile. He has done a bit of everything for the Sun Devils, scoring on six receptions, two kickoff returns, one punt return and even a trick touchdown pass this season. He's the only player in the entire nation to record at least one touchdown in each of those four facets of the game.
Six other Sun Devils received honorable mentions: junior defensive end Jamaar Jarrett, senior offensive lineman Dan Knapp, junior running back Cameron Marshall, senior defensive tackle Bo Moos, senior linebacker Colin Parker and senior wide receiver Gerrell Robinson.
You'll notice that linebacker Vontaze Burfict is notably absent from that list. The highly-touted NFL prospect coming into the season turned in a disappointing performance and has gone from a 2010 All-American to a 2011 Pac-12 also-ran. His future remains unclear right now, as he may decide to return to school in order to improve his draft stock next year. Despite his volatility and down 2011 campaign, ASU fans surely wouldn't mind another year from a presumably motivated Burfict.
You can find the full list of both teams and the honorable mentions here. Congrats to Gerhart, Floyd and Miles on fantastic seasons. Let's hope we're having this same conversation with an even greater number of ASU players next year.
Have thoughts about this year's selections and exclusions? Thoughts about next year's potential crop of ASU All Pac-12 players? Feel free to leave them in the Comments section below.