Oregon State senior defensive tackle Stephen Paea has been awarded the 2010 Pac-10 Conference Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, league commissioner Larry Scott announced last Tuesday. Paea won the award based on a vote by the conference’s 10 head coaches.
Paea, a native of Tonga, was a three-year letterman for the Beavers. He finished 2010 with 45 tackles, including 10 tackles-for-loss and six quarterback sacks. Paea also caused four fumbles during the season and is the new OSU record holder for career forced fumbles with nine. He was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player, and was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after OSU’s 36-7 victory over USC last month. Paea is the second Beaver to earn the conference honor, joining Bill Swancutt (2004). He also was co-recipient of the Morris Trophy in 2009, awarded annually to league’s top defensive lineman as voted on by the opposing offensive linemen.
Paea, a two-time All-Pac-10 First Team honoree, is joined on the team by junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Rodgers is the first three-time Pac-10 First Team selection ever for a Beaver and also is only the third running back in conference history to make first team on three occasions, joining Charles White of USC (1977-79) and Napoleon Kaufman of Washington (1992-94). Rodgers is the sixth-leading rusher in conference history with 3,877 yards.
Senior center Alex Linnenkohl earned Second Team honors, while senior cornerback James Dockery, senior defensive end Gabe Miller, senior linebackers Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson, junior tackle Mike Remmers, sophomore linebacker Uani `Unga (special teams) and sophomore cornerback Jordan Poyer (kick returner) all earned Honorable Mention.