Eight Utes Earn Preseason All-Pac-12
SAN FRANCISCO – The University of Utah football program was well represented on the Preseason Pac-12 All-Conference team today, with eight student-athletes earning spots among the first, second and honorable mention lists.
Juniors Brant Kuithe (TE) and Nick Ford (OL) highlighted Utah's first-team selections while senior Orlando Umana and sophomore Simi Moala earned second-team offense nods for the offensive line. Junior Mika Tafua was named second-team defense with junior Britain Covey also recording a second-team specialist selection as an all-purpose player.
Covey was also named to the honorable mention squad as a wide receiver. Senior defensive tackle Viane Moala and junior linebacker Devin Lloyd, who was Utah's tackle leader in 2019, joined Covey on the honorable mention squad to round out Utah's selection.
Seven of Utah's eight selections have earned postseason All-Pac-12 recognition in their careers, including Covey's first-team selection as a returner in 2018, also earning honorable mention in 2015 as a true freshman. Covey, who was Utah's leading receiver in 2015 and 2018, is known as a versatile player, ranking in the top-10 all-time at Utah in career punt returns and punt return yards.
Kuithe is coming off the 2019 season where he earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors as a sophomore after leading the team in reception (34), receiving yards (602) and receiving touchdowns (6). He averaged 17.71 yards per reception, also proving that he was a dynamic threat on offense by averaging 17.0 yards per carry (6 carries, 102 yards, 3 TD).
All three of Utah's offensive linemen earned Pac-12 all-conference honorable mention last season, helping the Utes to lead the Pac-12 in rushing offense. The Utes averaged 201.4 rushing yards per game in 2019.
Both Tafua and Lloyd earned all-conference honorable mention as sophomores in 2019, putting together dominant performances at the defensive end and linebacker positions. Tafua finished the year with 47 tackles (8.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks) and tied for the lead in the FBS in fumbles recovered (4) while Lloyd racked up a team-high 91.0 tackles, ranking seventh in the Pac-12 with 6.5 sacks.
V. Moala is set to step into a leadership role this season after seeing significant action on the defensive line in 2019. The senior, who is listed as a starting defensive tackle on the 2020 depth chart, played in all 14 games last season.
The Utes officially return to action on Saturday, Nov. 7 as they open the 2020 season against Arizona in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU.
For more information on the game, fan safety and this week's media availability, click here.