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December 20, 2010WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Offensive tackle Tyron Smith of USC and defensive tackle Stephen Paea of Oregon State have been named winners of the 31st annual Morris Trophy.
The Morris Trophy is a unique award given to the outstanding offensive and defensive linemen in the Pac-10 Conference. What makes the award unique is the selection procedure, which has the starting offensive linemen in the Conference voting for the defensive winner and vice versa. It is truly a players' award.
Smith, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound junior from Moreno Valley, Calif., was named a first-team All-Pac-10 performer in voting by the Pac-10 head coaches. He is a two-year starter for USC and started 12 games this season at right tackle, missing only the Notre Dame game with a sprained knee. Behind the offensive line, the Trojans averaged 189.8 yards per game rushing and 431.4 yards of total offense, while allowing only 18 quarterback sacks (1.38 per game) all year - figures that ranked among the top 30 in the nation. USC linemen have earned the offensive side of the Morris Trophy 11 times in 31 years.
Paea, a 6-foot-1, 311-pound senior from Los Altos, Calif., is a repeat winner and also received the 2010 Pac-10 Conference Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year honor as selected by the Conference head coaches. He finished the season with 45 tackles, including 10 tackles-for-loss and six quarterback sacks. Paea also caused four fumbles during the season and is the new Oregon State record holder for career forced fumbles with nine. Paea, a consensus 2010 All-America selection, joins three former Pac-10 defensive players as two-time recipients of the Morris Trophy (Arizona's Dana Wells 1987-88; Washington's Steve Emtman, 1990-91; USC's Sedrick Ellis 2006-07).
The Morris Trophy is sponsored by the Washington Athletic Club, the 101 club, Athletic Awards of Seattle and the Morris Trophy Foundation. It was created by Traci (Morris) Drake in 1980 and named after her father, G. Patrick Morris, who was its sponsor for 29 years. Smith and Paea will be presented their awards at a luncheon at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle on Thursday, January 20, 2011.