Utah Football: Utes All-Decade Team

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Utes have established themselves as one of the conference's top teams

The Utah Utes could not have imagined enjoying a much better climb up the college football ladder than what it accomplished during its first decade in a power conference.

 

The Utes made a name for themselves as the original BCS buster a few years earlier before joining the Pac-12 in 2011. It took a few years for Utah to get up to a comparable talent and depth level with other Pac-12 teams. But once the Utes did, they evolved into one of the conference's top teams. Utah capped the decade with back-to-back Pac-12 South titles.

 

Before we close the door on the 2010s for good, here are Athlon Sports' picks for Utah's all-decade team:

 

QB: Tyler Huntley (2016-19)

RB: Zack Moss (2016-19)

RB: Devontae Booker (2014-15)

AP: Britain Covey (2015-present)

WR: Dres Anderson (2011-14)

WR: Tim Patrick (2014-16)

WR: Darren Carrington II (2017)

TE: Brant Kuithe (2018-present)

OL: Tony Bergstrom (2008-11)

OL: Garett Bolles (2016)

OL: Jackson Barton (2014-18)

OL: J.J. Dielman (2012-16)

OL: Jeremiah Poutasi (2012-14)

 

DL: Bradlee Anae (2016-19)

DL: Star Lotulelei (2010-12)

DL: Hunter Dimick (2012-16)

DL: Nate Orchard (2011-14)

LB: Cody Barton (2015-18)

LB: Gionni Paul (2013-15)

LB: Chase Hansen (2012-18)

CB: Jaylon Johnson (2017-19)

CB: Eric Rowe (2011-14)

S: Marcus Williams (2014-16)

S: Julian Blackmon (2016-19)

 

K: Matt Gay (2017-18)

P: Tom Hackett (2012-15)

RS: Reggie Dunn (2010-12)

 

Toughest Choice: Special Teams

Utah is typically elite at special teams. Picking top spots for the all-decade team at kicker and punter isn't easy when there are so many deserving candidates. Andy Phillips holds school records for field goals and PATs made and attempted. Tom Hackett holds school records in several punting categories. Both Matt Gay and Mitch Wishnowsky went onto NFL careers. Ultimately, Gay gets the nod at kicker for being the school's first Lou Groza Award winner, and Hackett gets the nod at punter for being a two-time Ray Guy Award winner.

 

Deepest Position: Defensive Line

Few teams nationally can match the depth and talent Utah consistently brings to the defensive line of scrimmage. It's a key reason why the Utes remain one of the Pac-12's elite defensive teams from one season to the next. Many second-string defensive linemen at Utah are good enough to start at a vast majority of other FBS schools.

 

Weakest Position: Tight End

Traditionally, the tight end has functioned primarily as a blocker in the Utah offense. That changed a bit in 2019 with the emergence of Brant Kuithe as a legit receiving threat. There were a few exceptions during the decade (Jake Murphy and Westlee Tonga for example), but the role of tight ends as receivers were typically subdued.

 

Key Stat: 1,000

Utah has produced 1,000-yard rushers in six consecutive seasons and eight of nine Pac-12 seasons overall. Zack Moss and Devontae Booker combined for five of those 1,000-yard campaigns. The Utes had 11 total seasons producing a 1,000-yard rusher before joining the league in 2011.

 

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.

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