USC has been forced to forge onward without one of its defensive cogs in Porter Gustin, who’s been sidelined due to multiple injuries.
Cameron Smith has picked up the slack, and CBS Sports noticed. The site’s writers unanimously selected Smith as one of three linebackers on its Midseason All-American team, released Tuesday.
Smith has recorded 62 tackles (6.5 for loss), 0.5 sacks and 1 interception as captain of a defense that is 52nd in the nation in points allowed per game at 23.7. Smith, a junior, has started at inside linebacker in each of his 3 seasons at USC. He was one of just six unanimous selections.
Also on the list from the Pac-12 are Stanford running back Bryce Love, Washington State offensive lineman Cody O’Connell and defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa, and Washington receiver/return man Dante Pettis. Mata’afa, a redshirt junior, has totaled 22 tackles (12 for loss), 6.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble in 7 games, while Pettis burst out of the gate, returning punts for touchdowns in 3 consecutive weeks to tie the all-time NCAA record for career punt return touchdowns, held by Texas Tech’s Wes Welker and Oklahoma’s Antonio Perkins. The Huskies wideout — selected to the team as a punt returner — also has 44 receptions for 472 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2017.
On Tuesday, Stanford launched the official Heisman Trophy campaign for Love, who has rushed 135 times for an FBS-leading 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns through 7 games.
O’Connell, a redshirt junior, was a unanimous All-American in 2016 and a finalist for the Outland Trophy.