Kicker Jason Hanson, who went on to a spectacular career with the Detroit Lions, is the only Cougar to be named a first-team unanimous All-American selection. He was so honored in 1989.
O'Connell has now been named first-team All-America by the five majors:
American Football Coaches Association
Football Writers of America
Walter Camp Football Foundation
Additionally, the Cougar left guard has been named first-team All-America by:
Pro Football Focus
And O'Connell was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation's best interior lineman on offense or defense.
But in what no doubt stands as one of the most glaring oversights in the 101-year history of the Pac-12, O'Connell this season wasn't named either first- or second-team all-conference by the Pac-12. He instead was named honorable mention.
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. If you're wondering just how the heck an o-lineman goes from his first collegiate start just a few months ago to a unanimous All-American, you'll want to re-read our interview with WSU assistant coach Clay McGuire. Here's what McGuire told CF.C in this feature story on O'Connell last month.
Washington State plays Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 (4 pm, ESPN).
* To be considered a consensus All-American a player must be named a first-team honoree by three of the five major organizations: AP, AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation.
* Cougars Jerome Harrison (2005); Rien Long (2002); Jason Hanson (1989) and Mike Utley (1988) are the only other WSU consensus All-Americans. Note: Rueben Mayes is listed by the Pac-12 media guide also as being a WSU consensus All-American in 1984 but CF.C has been unable to confirm, research continues).
WSU’S FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICA 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