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ASU Football: Why was Antonio Longino omitted from the All-Pac-12 teams?

I thought I understood why, then I realized I'm still not sure why.

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Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

I know. It's frustrating, and it's weird.

You would think, considering how underwhelming this season has been, ASU could at least celebrate its three or four representatives on the all-conference teams.

At the very least, right?

Wrong. Despite leading the Pac-12 in both sacks and tackles for loss, Arizona State senior linebacker Antonio Longino was left off both the first and second All-Pac-12 teams.

Sun Devil Nation reacted accordingly.

It's understandable, too.

In 2014, Arizona's Scooby Wright III (then-Pac-12 tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks leader) was named to the first team. In 2013, Stanford's Trent Murphy (then-Pac-12 tackles for loss and sacks leader) was named first-team all-conference, too.

Actually, Longino is the first player to lead the conference in tackles for loss and not make either all-conference team since Washington's Victor Aiyewa was omitted in 2010 after racking up 21 tackles for loss.

Longino is also the first player to lead the conference in sacks and still be overlooked since 2009, when Oregon's Kenny Rowe, Jr. was omitted despite posting 11.5 sacks.

In fact, *since 2005, Longino is the first player to ever lead the Pac-12 in both categories and be left off both all-Pac-12 teams.

He even won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks this season. He was the only player (offense, defense or special teams) to do so.

What gives?

Let's take a look at how Longino stacks up on a cumulative basis against the other linebackers who were named to the All-Pac-12 teams.

Player Tackles TFL Sacks INT FF FR
Antonio Longino (ASU) 60 19.5 10 0 1 1
^Su'a Cravens (USC) 73 13.5 5.5 2 2 0
^Blake Martinez (STAN) 121 4.5 0 1 0 0
^Gionni Paul (UTAH) 109 12.5 3 4 3 3
**Travis Feeney (WAS) 53 15.5 7 0 3 1
**Deon Hollins (UCLA) 18 4.5 2.5 0 0 1
**Jared Norris (UTAH) 86 6.5 0 0 2 1

^denotes first team, ** denotes second team

Below, we provide week-by-week charts of player output.








Cravens and Paul's total contribution outweighs Longino's based on stats alone, so no issue there.

At the heart of Stanford's stout defense, Martinez (who led the conference in tackles) is understandably named.

Feeney very much stands out when watching Washington's defense, and his all-around play landed him a spot too, even though the production was the most comparable to Longino's.

Norris played at a consistent and steady pace all season, and his stats reflect that as well.

The player that I you may have a hard time believing was named to the teams ahead of Longino is Deon Hollins.

Hollins finished the season with just 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He didn't have one game with more than three recorded tackles.

While statistics aren't what one should base their full opinion of this on, it's hard to understand how he was placed ahead of the conference's sacks and tackles for loss leader when his are very pedestrian, if that.

If notoriety is the reason for handing him a spot ahead of Longino, it would make some sense. Hollins entered the season regarded as one of the best pass rushers in the conference, and early on in the season, opponents were scheming to avoid him, especially once Myles Jack went down (as far as I could tell). He generates a ton of pressure, even though the stats don't show it.

Hollins registered nine sacks in 2014. Coming into the season, Longino had all of three sacks total through two seasons (17 appearances). He only had seven total tackles for loss through that span, too.

In other words, getting after the quarterback isn't considered Longino's strength, and it's rather noticeable that he was playing out of position when in the DEVIL role throughout this season.

Longino has been recognized as one of the most physical players in college football, but is more renown for his ability as a run stopper. One would figure that this, coupled with the fact he led the Pac-12 in sacks would mean he'd be considered a more well-rounded player, thus calling further for his name to be selected amongst the best in the conference.

Longino's stats are solid, but when he performed at such a high level may be the problem.

A no-show performance against Texas A&M at the beginning of the year, and his statistical slump in the middle of the year may have cost him. This, along with the Sun Devil defense's penchant for 1.) giving up big plays and 2.) not wrapping up on defense, which he's been guilty of before.

Arizona State was falling out of the national media's favor by the time he registered a 2.5-sack performance against Colorado. To boot, it wasn't until after three weeks later before he had another outstanding performance against Washington.

Yet, it remains tough to make sense of this, nonetheless pinpoint exactly why he was left out. For some reason, the conference simply decided Longino wasn't worthy of a place in either All-Pac-12 team. It's the fitting letdown to what's been a relatively subpar season.

On the other hand, we'll gladly argue otherwise.

*College Football Reference's database of conference sack leaders only goes as far back as 2005.