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December 18, 2009
Even in a year when USC ended up in the Emerald Bowl, the Pac-10 had a standout season. The same could be true for years to come.
The Pac-10 led all conferences with nine selections on the Rivals.com Freshman All-America teams; seven of those landed on the first team.
Oregon claimed Rivals.com's National Offensive Freshman of the Year honors, thanks to running back LaMichael James. James edged Pittsburgh's Dion Lewis for the award. James set the Pac-10 freshman rushing record by running for 1,476 yards and 13 touchdowns on 215 carries. All of this came despite just 11 carries in the first two games.
Kuechly was second in the nation in tackles with 142, including double-digit stops in each of the past eight games. Kuechly also had 12.5 tackles for a loss and an interception for a touchdown on the No. 15 rush defense in the country.