USC junior right tackle Tyron Smith and Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea were recognized today as the winner's of the Pac-10's annual Morris Trophy given to the conference's top offensive and defensive linemen.
The Morris Trophy is a unique award as the only eligible voters are the Pac-10's fellow linemen. Coaches, the media and fans have no vote in the 31 year old award. The conference's starting offensive linemen are asked to vote on the defensive linemen and the defensive linemen do the same for their offensive counterparts. Who better than they, after all, to determine the best in the conference?
Smith started 12 of 13 games for the Trojans this season -- all at right tackle. The 6-5, 285 pound junior was held out of the Notre Dame game due to an injury and earned First Team all-conference accolades from the league's coaches. With USC barred from a bowl game this year, he's already announced that he'll be forgoing his senior season for the NFL.
Paea, who won the award last year, is only the third defensive lineman to win the award in consecutive seasons. The 6-1, 310 pound Paea posted 45 tackes, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks this season. He was so dominant in Oregon State's upset over USC that he earned my Prospect of the Week .
Smith and Paea are each expected to be selected within the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.