Arizona Wildcats at Oregon State football

Arizona tailback J.J. Taylor rushed for 1,434 yards this season, earning first-team all-conference recognition.

Arizona Wildcats tailback J.J. Taylor was the co-Offensive Freshman of the Year in the Pac-12 last season. What could he do for an encore?

Earn a place on the league’s first team.

Taylor did just that Tuesday, capping a prolific season by landing one of two backfield spots on the all-conference team.

Taylor is joined at running back by Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin, who edged him for the league rushing title. Benjamin finished the regular season with 1,524 yards. Taylor had 1,434, the fourth-highest total in school history, and six touchdowns.

Ka’Deem Carey has the two highest totals, in 2012 and ’13, and made first-team all-league both years — the last UA offensive player to do so. The last Wildcat on either side of the ball to make the first team was linebacker Scooby Wright in 2014.

Surprisingly, current UA linebacker Colin Schooler did not earn first- or second-team recognition from the league’s coaches. Schooler, the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, ranked fifth in the league with 119 tackles and second with 21.5 stops for losses — six clear of third-place Mustafa Johnson of Colorado.

Schooler also had 3.5 sacks, four pass breakups, two interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a safety. Perhaps he didn’t get the nod because of Arizona’s overall performance on defense. The Wildcats ranked in the bottom three in the league in points and yards allowed.

Schooler was among four Wildcats to earn honorable-mention recognition. The others: defensive tackle PJ Johnson, receiver Shawn Poindexter and special-teamer Thomas Reid III.

Back to Taylor. The 5-foot-6, 184-pound redshirt sophomore ranks sixth nationally in rushing and second in all-purpose yards, trailing only Memphis’ Darrell Henderson. Taylor gained 133 yards as a receiver and 540 as a kick returner, giving him 2,107 for the season.

Taylor rushed for a career-high 284 yards in Arizona’s 35-14 victory at Oregon State on Sept. 22, the fourth most in UA history. He finished the season by rushing for 144 or more yards in four of the Wildcats’ final five games. Taylor also had an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Southern Utah on Sept. 15.

Johnson, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, totaled 31 tackles, including 8.5 TFLs, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a safety.

Poindexter blossomed as a senior, notching career highs with 42 receptions, 759 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 11 TD receptions tied the school record and ranked second in the conference.

Reid, a redshirt sophomore, started on multiple special-teams units and recorded three tackles, including one for a 15-yard loss.

(See the full All-Pac-12 first and second teams below.)

CONFERENCE HONORS

Washington State’s season may have ended with a thud, but the Cougars can find some solace in the conference honors announced Tuesday night.

The Pac-12 named quarterback Gardner Minshew II, a graduate transfer, its Offensive Player of the Year, and Cougars coach Mike Leach the Coach of the Year.

The pair led Washington State to its sixth 10-win season in program history, finishing a game shy of a spot in the Pac-12 title game. The Cougars led the conference in scoring (38.3 ppg) and total offense (461.8 ypg).

Minshew was the country’s leading passer with 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Washington’s Ben Burr-Kirven was named Defensive Player of the Year; Jermar Jefferson of Oregon State was named the Freshman Offensive Player of the Year; and Merlin Roberton of Arizona State was named Freshman Defensive Player of the year.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB Gardner Minshew II, grad., Washington State

RB Eno Benjamin, sophomore, ASU

RB J.J. Taylor, redshirt sophomore, Arizona

WR N'Keal Harry, junior, ASU

WR Laviska Shenault Jr., sophomore, Colorado

TE Caleb Wilson, junior, UCLA

OL Jordan Agasiva, senior, Utah

OL Jackson Barton, senior, Utah

OL Andre Dillard, senior, Washington State

OL Nick Harris, junior, Washington

OL Walker Little, sophomore, Stanford

OL Kaleb McGary, senior, Washington

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL Bradlee Anae, junior, Utah

DL Leki Fotu, junior, Utah

DL Greg Gaines, senior, Washington

DL Jalen Jelks, senior, Oregon

LB Ben Burr-Kirven, senior, Washington

LB Chase Hansen, senior, Utah

LB Jordan Kunaszyk, senior, California

DB Paulson Adebo, freshman, Stanford

DB Jaylon Johnson, sophomore, Utah

DB Byron Murphy, sophomore, Washington

DB Taylor Rapp, junior, Washington

FIRST TEAM SPECIALISTS

PK Matt Gay, senior, Utah

P Mitch Wishnowsky, senior, Utah

RS Britain Covey, sophomore, Utah

AP/ST Brenden Schooler, junior, Oregon

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB K.J. Costello, junior, Stanford

RB Myles Gaskin, senior, Washington

RB Zack Moss, junior Utah

WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, senior, Stanford

WR Dillon Mitchell, junior, Oregon

TE Kaden Smith, junior, Stanford

OL Cohl Cabral, junior, ASU

OL Chuma Edoga, senior, USC

OL Nate Herbig, junior, Stanford

OL Shan Lemieux, junior, Oregon

OL Abe Lucas, freshman, Washington State

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL Porter Gustin, senior, USC

DL John Penisini, junior, Utah

DL Logan Tago, senior, Washington State

DL Jay Tufele, freshman, USC

LB Troy Dye, junior, Oregon

LB Cameron Smith, senior, USC

LB Evan Weaver, junior, California

DB Julian Blackmon, junior, Utah

DB Marquise Blair, senior, Utah

DB Myles Bryant, junior, Washington

DB Iman Marshall, senior, USC

DB Adarius Pickett, senior, UCLA

SECOND TEAM SPECIALISTS

PK Jet Toner, junior, Stanford

P Jake Bailey, senior, Stanford

RS N'Keal Harry, junior, ASU

AP/ST Elijah Molden, sophomore, Washington

HONORABLE MENTION

ARIZONA:  DL PJ Johnson, RJr.; WR Shawn Poindexter, Sr.; Thomas Reid III, WR, RSo.; LB Colin Schooler, So.

ARIZONA STATE: OL Quinn Bailey, RSr.; DB Aashari Crosswell, Fr.; OL Casey Tucker, Grad.; DL Renell Wren, RSr.

CALIFORNIA:  DE Luc Bequette, RJr.; DB Camryn Bynum, RSo.; P Steven Coutts, RJr.; RS Ashtyn Davis, RJr.

COLORADO:  LB Rick Gamboa, Sr.; DL Mustafa Johnson, So.; LB Nate Landman, So.; RB Travon McMillian, Sr.; OL Will Sherman, Fr.; DB Evan Worthington, Sr.

OREGON:  DB Ugochukwu Amadi, Sr.; OL Jake Hanson, Jr.; OLB Justin Hollins, Sr.; DL Jordon Scott, So.; OL Penei Sewell, Fr.; OL Calvin Throckmorton, Jr.

OREGON STATE:  AP/ST Andre Bodden, RJr.; WR Trevon Bradford, Jr.; WR Isaiah Hodgins, So.; RB Jermar Jefferson, Fr.

STANFORD: DB Alijah Holder, RSr.; RB Bryce Love, Sr.; LB Bobby Okereke, Sr.; TE Colby Parkinson, So.; DL Jovon Swann, Jr.

UCLA:  P Stefan Flintoft, RSr.; DB Darnay Holmes, So.; WR Theo Howard, Jr.; RB Joshua Kelley, RJr.; PK JJ Molson, Jr.

USC: DB Ajene Harris, Sr.; OL Toa Lobendahn, RSr.; WR Michael Pittman Jr., Jr.; DB Marvell Tell III, Sr.; RS Tyler Vaughns, RSo.

UTAH: DB Corrion Ballard, Sr.; LB Cody Barton, Sr.; OL Lo Falemaka, Sr.; DB Javelin Guidry, So.

WASHINGTON: QB Jake Browning, Sr.; DL Jaylen Johnson, Sr.; DB Jojo McIntosh, Sr.; TE Drew Sample, RSr.

WASHINGTON STATE: P Oscar Draguicevich, RSo.; RS Travell Harris, RFr.; OL Frederick Mauigoa, Jr.; LB Peyton Pelluer, Grad.; DB Jalen Thompson, Jr.; RB James Williams, RJr.; AP/ST Kainoa Wilson, RJr.; LB Jahad Woods, RSo.

Contact sports reporter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or mlev@tucson.com. On Twitter @michaeljlev