O'Connell was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America first team on Thursday. It's the oldest and one of the most respected All-America teams in the nation. He is the first Cougar since kicker Jason Hanson in 1989 to earn Walter Camp first-team honors.
Nicknamed The Continent, the 6-8, 354-pound O'Connell also was named to the Sporting News All-American first team earlier in the day.
All the big news came to O'Connell in Atlanta, where he attended the Outland Trophy presentation. He was one of three finalists. The winner was Alabama's Cam Robinson.
One more first-team designation would make O'Connell a consensus All-American. To be considered a consensus All-American a player must be named a first-team honoree by three of the five major organizations: Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers of America, Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
Selection to all five of the major teams makes for the rarest of the rare: unanimous first-team All-American. Jason Hanson is the only first-team unanimous All-America choice in WSU history.
Besides the two major A-A selections, O'Connell was also named first-team All-America by Pro Football Focus, USA Today and Sports Illustrated.
What a year. And for an offensive lineman who started his first college game this season. And it's not over yet.
Washington State plays Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 (4 pm, ESPN).
Coming out of Wenatchee High, O'Connell was rated 2 stars by Scout.com and received only one other scholarship offer -- from Idaho -- besides WSU. “We knew he had the ability to play at this level. I’m proud of him. It’s awesome to see him step up and take advantage of the playing time,” WSU assistant coach Clay McGuire told CF.C in this feature story on O'Connell last month.
In what no doubt stands as one of the greatest oversights in Pac-12 history, O'Connell this season wasn't named either first- or second-team all-conference.
WSU’S 1ST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN HISTORY ON THE O-LINE:
Turk Edwards - 1930
Mel Hein - 1930
Harold Ahlskog – 1930
Laurie Niemi – 1948
Geoff Reece – 1974
Dan Lynch – 1984
Mike Utley – 1988
Scott Sanderson – 1996
Derick Roche – 2002
Cody O’Connell - 2016
RELATED STORY: O'Connell named All-America first team by Sporting News