Utah Utes

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 7:  Stanford Cardinal players, including cornerback Quenton Meeks #24, sing the fight song after a 42-10 win over the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 7, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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For first time ever, media taps Stanford as preseason Pac-12 favorite

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While all preseason polls are relatively useless, at least this one has a historical tinge to it.

As the Pac-12 kicked off its so-far-off-the-radar-it’s-not-even-on-the-screen Media Days, the conference announced that the media has tapped Stanford as its preseason favorite.  It’s the first time in the 56 years of this poll that the Cardinal has been the media’s preseason favorite.

Stanford was actually an overwhelming favorite of the media, receiving 20 of the 33 first-place votes.  Others receiving votes were USC (5), Washington (4), UCLA (3), Utah (1).

Suffice to say, Stanford is  sizable favorite to win the North division, claiming 24 first-place votes to finish well ahead of Washington (8) and Oregon (1).  In the South, the media sees it as a two-horse race between USC and UCLA, with the Bruins receiving 19 first-place votes and and the Trojans 12.  Utah received the other two votes.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is a unanimous selection to finish at the bottom of the North.

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Injury forces Utah’s projected starting center to retire from football

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  Britain Covey #18 of the Utah Utes celebrates his touchdown with Joe Williams #28, Hiva Lutui #55 and Isaac Asiata #54 to tie the game 7-7 with the USC Trojans during the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Unfortunately, a player expected to be the linchpin in the middle of Utah’s offensive line won’t get the opportunity to do just that.

Hiva Lutui’s name is no longer listed on the Utes’ online roster.  The reason for that, the Salt Lake Tribune is reporting, is that the center has decided to end his football playing career because of injury.

Lutui (pictured, second from left) sustained a torn ACL during the Utes’ spring game earlier this year.  It had been expected that Lutui would’ve been able to return for his senior season at some point in October.

According to the Tribune, Lutui will remain with the team as a student assistant.  The football program has yet to confirm Lutui’s status with the team.

In 2015, Lutui played in every game for the Utes.  He started seven of those contests — five at right guard, two at center.  All told, the lineman played in 18 games during his time at Utah.

Prior to the injury, Lutui was considered the Utes’ starting center.

2015 winner Desmond King of Iowa headlines Thorpe Award watch list

AMES, IA ? SEPTEMBER 14: Defensive back Desmond King #14 of the Iowa Hawkeyes breaks up a pass meant for wide receiver Tad Ecby #6 of the Iowa State Cyclones late in the 4th quarter of play at Jack Trice Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Ames, Iowa. Iowa defeated Iowa State 27-21. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
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Watch list season continues to roll along, with defensive backs getting their turn in the spotlight.

Monday, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame released the annual preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award.  Given annually to the nation’s top defensive back, this year’s watch list includes 39 players from all 10 FBS conferences.  No players from football independents were included.

Included in the group is Iowa’s Desmond King, the 2015 winner of the Thorpe Award.

The Pac-12 paces all conferences with six selections, followed by five each from the MAC and SEC.  The AAC, ACC, Big Ten and Mountain West all have four apiece, while the Sun Belt has three.  Along with Conference USA, the Big 12 brings up the rear with two.

Air Force (two), LSU (two) and Washington (two) are the only teams with more than one player on the list.

Most of the watch listers are juniors (13) or seniors (23), with the lone exceptions being a trio of sophomores — Florida State’s Derwin James, Pittsburgh’s Jordan Whitehead and Wyoming’s Andrew Wingard.

Below is the complete 2016 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list:

Jamal Adams, LSU, Jr.
Tony Annese, Central Michigan, Sr.
Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, Sr.
Budda Baker, Washington, Jr.
Bobby Baker, Georgia State, Sr.
Quin Blanding, Virginia, Jr.
Cody Brown, Arkansas State, Sr.
Sean Chandler, Temple, Jr.
Jeremy Cutrer, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
Zach Edwards, Cincinnati, Sr.
Nate Gerry, Nebraska, Sr.
Adoree’ Jackson, USC, Jr.
Eddie Jackson, Alabama, Sr.
Derwin James, Florida St., So.
Sidney Jones, Washington, Jr.
Damontae Kazee, San Diego State, Sr.
Desmond King, Iowa, Sr.
Roland Ladipo, Air Force, Sr.
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan , Sr.
William Likely, Maryland, Sr.
Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois, Jr.
Marcus Maye, Florida, Sr.
Demetrius Monday, Kent State, Jr.
Deatrick Nichols, USF, Jr.
Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama, Jr.
DeJuan Rogers, Toledo, Sr.
Boise Ross, Buffalo, Sr.
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force, Sr.
Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State, Sr.
Jamar Summers, UConn, Jr.
Cameron Sutton, Tennessee, Sr.
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson, Sr.
Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma, Sr.
Jaleel Wadood, UCLA, Jr.
Tre’Davious White, LSU, Sr.
Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh, So.
Marcus Williams, Utah, Jr.
Andrew Wingard, Wyoming, So.
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, Sr.

Six former winners on Dodd coaching award watch list

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 03: Head Coach Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes stands on the sidelines during the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on October 03, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Players aren’t the only ones being feted in this wave of watch list releases.

In conjunction with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation announced Friday the release of its watch list of 24 head coaches from six different conferences.  Independent Notre Dame, with Brian Kelly, was also represented.

Of the two dozen coaches on the list, six are previous winners of the Dodd Trophy, including Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops (2003), TCU’s Gary Patterson (2009), Washington’s Chris Petersen (2010, at Boise State), Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (2011), Alabama’s Nick Saban (2014) and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz (2015). Additionally, four of the coaches were finalists for last year’s award, including Swinney, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Florida’s Jim McElwain and Stanford’s David Shaw.

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with six of that conference’s coaches on the list, followed by the Big Ten and SEC with five apiece and the ACC and Big 12 with three each.  The American Athletic’s Tom Herman of Houston is the only one from a Group of Five conference.

Below is the complete 2016 Dodd Trophy preseason watch list:

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SEC accounts for 27 of 88 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch listers

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 21: Defensive back Desmond King #14 of the Iowa Hawkeyes comes up with the ball after a turnover in the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers on November 21, 2015 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
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Watch list season continues to roll along, with an award dedicated to the best defensive player in the country the latest to roll out its preseason honors.

In conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Award released a watch list consisting of 88 players on the defensive side of the ball.  Defensive backs occupied the most spots with 31, followed 29 linebackers and 28 linemen (21 ends, seven tackles).

The SEC’s 27 players listed more than doubled the 13 each of the Big Ten and Pac-12, and was six more than the combined totals of the other two Power Five conferences (ACC 11, Big 12 10). The MAC had the most of any Group of Five conference with four, followed by the Mountain West (three), American Athletic (two), Conference USA (two) and Sun Belt (one). Players from independent programs accounted for the final two watch listers.

Three of the players on the watch list — Desmond King of Iowa, Shawun Lurry of Northern Illinois and Myles Garrett of Texas A&M — were first-team FWAA All-Americans in 2015, while two others — Eddie Jackson of Alabama and Jourdan Lewis of Michigan — were named to the second-team.

The Nagurski Trophy, handed out annually since 1993, is named in honor of Bronko Nagurski, the legendary Minnesota Golden Gopher fullback and defensive lineman. Nagurski was a charter member of both the college and pro football halls of fame.

Last year’s honoree was Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich.

Below is the complete 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list:

Montravius Adams, Auburn, DT
Jamal Adams, LSU, DB
Jonathan Allen, Alabama, DE
Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, DB
Budda Baker, Washington, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, DB
Derek Barnett, Tennessee, DE
Kendell Beckwith, LSU, LB
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin, LB
Quin Blanding, Virginia, DB
Ben Boulware, Clemson, LB
Richie Brown, Mississippi State, LB
Riley Bullough, Michigan State, LB
Josh Carraway, TCU, DE
Lorenzo Carter, Georgia, LB
Tony Conner, Ole Miss, DB
Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, LB
Jarrad Davis, Florida, LB
Hunter Dimick, Utah, DE
Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech, DE
Devonte Fields, Louisville, DE
Salamo Fiso, Arizona State, LB
Kylie Fitts, Utah, DE
Reuben Foster, Alabama, LB
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, DE
Davon Godchaux, LSU, DT
Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M, DE
Charles Harris, Missouri, DE
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville, DB
Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss, DE
Treyvon Hester, Toledo, DT
Travin Howard, TCU, LB
Shane Huber, Massachusetts, LB
Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, DB
Adoreé Jackson, USC, DB
Eddie Jackson, Alabama
Derwin James, Florida State, DB
Malik Jefferson, Texas, LB
Josey Jewell, Iowa, LB
Sidney Jones, Washington, DB
Andrew King, Army, LB
Desmond King, Iowa, DB
Micah Kiser, Virginia, LB
Carl Lawson, Auburn, DE
Elijah Lee, Kansas State, LB
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, DB
Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State, DE
William Likely, Maryland, DB
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois, DB
Jamal Marcus, Akron, DE
Marcus Maye, Florida, DB
Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
Fabian Moreau, UCLA, DB
Calvin Munson, San Diego State, LB
Lewis Neal, LSU, DE
Hardy Nickerson, Illinois, LB
Steven Parker, Oklahoma, DB
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, LB
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee, LB
TJ Ricks, Old Dominion, LB
Isaac Rochell, Notre Dame, DE
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State, DE
Duke Shelley, Kansas State, DB
Cameron Smith, USC, LB
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force, DB
Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State, DB
Jamar Summers, UConn, DB
Cameron Sutton, Tennessee, DB
Jalen Tabor, Florida, DB
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson, DB
Steven Taylor, Houston, LB
Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma, DB
Tanner Vallejo, Boise State, LB
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, DT
Azeem Victor, Washington, LB
Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, LB
Charles Walker, Oklahoma, DE
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State, DE
Carlos Watkins, Clemson, DT
Tre’Davious White, LSU, DB
Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh, DB
Marcus Williams, Utah, DB
Tim Williams, Alabama, LB
Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas, DE
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, DB
Chris Wormley, Michigan, DE