Huskies Burr-Kirven Named Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year

Burr-Kervin  after the UW’s 27-13 win  over Colorado. Burr-Kerrvn finished the game with 15 total tackles ( 8 solo) and one interception.

UW linebacker Burr-Kirven was awarded the prestigious  Pac-12 Pat Tillman  Defensive Player of the year Tuesday afternoon. The 6″0 221 pound linebacker from Menlo Park,  California was the lynchpin in a Husky defense that  was 12th in the nation in total defense ( 185.4 yards allowed a game,) led the Pac-12 in pass defense(185.yards allowed per game) and  was second  to the Utah Utes in rushing defense ( 114.4 yards allowed per game) Burr-Kirven’s 165 tackles led the Nation and his 12.7 tackles per game ranks  third-best in the FBS. 

“It’s pretty crazy,” Burr-Kiven told reporter Mike Yam on the Pac-12 Network’s Inside Pac-12 Football – All-Conference Awards show. “It’s something I don’t think I ever imagined having an opportunity to win when I first got here in 2015.”
It is the second consecutive year that a player from the UW program has earned the award. Former teamate Vita Vea earned the Pac-12’s top defensive player of the year in 2017

“It was so cool to see that happen,” Burr-Kirven said to Yam on Vea’s accomplishment in 2017. “It just means so much to be part of a tradition of so many great defensive players, especially to follow one of my own teammates.”

Burr-Kirven becomes the fifth different Husky – six times overall – to be named the Conference’s top defensive player. Besides Vea, he joins the likes of Jason Chorak (1996), Dave Hoffmann (1992) and two-time winner Steve Emtman (1990 and 1991).

The award also has extra special meaning to Burr-Kirven, as it is named after a hometown hero that he admired while growing up in the Bay Area.

“Obviously it’s named after Pat Tillman and that was a guy from the Bay Area that I always looked up to,” he said. “I remember reading books about him and watching his documentary way back when it came out. It’s an award that means a whole lot to me. I just think it’s a really special thing that I got to have happen this year.”

Burr-Kirven is also the first player in the Conference’s history to garner both Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Player of the Year award. The comparative literature major boasts a 3.69 grade point average and is a three-time member of both the CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 All-American team and All-Pac-12 Academic First Team.

Husky defense awaits the Oregon offense. (

On  Tuesday, Burr-Kirven was named first team All-Pac-12 after earning second-team recognition as a junior. He was one of six Huskies to earn All-Pac-12 first-team accolades. Three others were named to the second team and four were honorable mention. 

  First Team Offense   Position Second Team Offense
Gardner Minshew II, Grad,. 
Washington State
QBK.J. Costello, JR Stanford
RB Eno Benjamin, So., Arizona State   RB Myles Gaskin, Sr., Washington
RB J.J. Taylor, RSo., Arizona   RB Zack Moss, Jr., Utah
WR N’Keal Harry, Jr., Arizona State (1)   WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Sr., Stanford
WR Laviska Shenault, So., Colorado   WR Dillon Mitchell, Jr., Oregon
TE Caleb Wilson, RJr., UCLA   TE Kaden Smith, Jr., Stanford
OL Jordan Agasiva, Sr., Utah   OL Cohl Cabral, Jr., Arizona State
OL Jackson Barton, Sr., Utah   OL Chuma Edoga, Sr., USC
OL Andre Dillard, RSr., Washington State   OL Nate Herbig, Jr., Stanford
OL Nick Harris, Jr., Washington   OL Shane Lemieux, Jr., Oregon
OL Walker Little, So., Stanford   OL Abe Lucas, RFr., Washington State
OL Kaleb McGary, RSr., Washington      
Husky linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (
  First Team Defense     Second Team Defense
DL Bradlee Anae, Jr., Utah   DL Porter Gustin, Sr., USC
DL Leki Fotu, Jr., Utah   DL John Penisini, Jr., Utah
DL Greg Gaines, RSr., Washington   DL Logan Tago, Sr., Washington State
DL Jalen Jelks, Sr., Oregon   DL Jay Tufele, RFr., USC
LB Ben Burr-Kirven, Sr., Washington   LB Troy Dye, Jr., Oregon
LB Chase Hansen, Sr., Utah   LB Cameron Smith, Sr., USC
LB Jordan Kunaszyk, RSr., California   LB Evan Weaver, Jr., California
DB Paulson Adebo, RFr., Stanford   DB Julian Blackmon, Jr., Utah
DB Jaylon Johnson, So., Utah   DB Marquise Blair, Sr., Utah
DB Byron Murphy, RSo., Washington   DB Myles Bryant, Jr., Washington
DB Taylor Rapp, RJr., Washington (1)   DB Iman Marshall, Sr., USC
      DB Adarius Pickett, RSr., UCLA
  First Team Specialists     Second Team Specialists
PK Matt Gay, Sr., Utah (1)   PK Jet Toner, Jr., Stanford
P Mitch Wishnowsky, Sr., Utah (2)   P Jake Bailey, Sr., Stanford
RS Britain Covey, So., Utah   RS N’Keal Harry, Jr., Arizona State
AP/ST Brenden Schooler, Jr., Oregon (1)   AP/ST Elijah Molden, So., Washington

RS=return specialist
AP/ST=all-purpose/special teams player (not a kicker or returner)
(1) Two-time first team selection
(2) Three-time first team selection

No Tiebreaker: There was a tie for the fifth offensive lineman for first team, so that team is represented with six offensive linemen. There also was a tie for the fourth defensive back for second team, so that team is represented with five defensive backs.


ARIZONA:  DL PJ Johnson, RJr.; WR Shawn Poindexter, Sr.; Thomas Reid III, WR, RSo.; LB Colin Schooler, So.;
ARIZONA STATE: OL Quinn Bailey, RSr.; DB Aashari Crosswell, Fr.; OL Casey Tucker, Grad.; DL Renell Wren, RSr.;
CALIFORNIA:  DE Luc Bequette, RJr.; DB Camryn Bynum, RSo.; P Steven Coutts, RJr.; RS Ashtyn Davis, RJr.;
COLORADO:  LB Rick Gamboa, Sr.; DL Mustafa Johnson, So.; LB Nate Landman, So.; RB Travon McMillian, Sr.; OL Will Sherman, Fr.; DB Evan Worthington, Sr.;
OREGON:  DB Ugochukwu Amadi, Sr.; OL Jake Hanson, Jr.; OLB Justin Hollins, Sr.; DL Jordon Scott, So.; OL Penei Sewell, Fr.; OL Calvin Throckmorton, Jr.;
OREGON STATE:  AP/ST Andre Bodden, RJr.; WR Trevon Bradford, Jr.; WR Isaiah Hodgins, So.; RB Jermar Jefferson, Fr.;
STANFORD: DB Alijah Holder, RSr.; RB Bryce Love, Sr.; LB Bobby Okereke, Sr.; TE Colby Parkinson, So.; DL Jovon Swann, Jr.;
UCLA:  P Stefan Flintoft, RSr.; DB Darnay Holmes, So.; WR Theo Howard, Jr.; RB Joshua Kelley, RJr.; PK JJ Molson, Jr.;
USC: DB Ajene Harris, Sr.; OL Toa Lobendahn, RSr.; WR Michael Pittman Jr., Jr.; DB Marvell Tell III, Sr.; RS Tyler Vaughns, RSo.;
UTAH: DB Corrion Ballard, Sr.; LB Cody Barton, Sr.; OL Lo Falemaka, Sr.; DB Javelin Guidry, So.;
WASHINGTON: QB Jake Browning, Sr.; DL Jaylen Johnson, Sr.; DB Jojo McIntosh, Sr.; TE Drew Sample, RSr.;
WASHINGTON STATE: P Oscar Draguicevich, RSo.; RS Travell Harris, RFr.; OL Frederick Mauigoa, Jr.; LB Peyton Pelluer, Grad.; DB Jalen Thompson, Jr.; RB James Williams, RJr.; AP/ST Kainoa Wilson, RJr.; LB Jahad Woods, RSo.

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