Pac-12 Tabs Covey and Tafuna Players of the Week
SAN FRANCISCO – University of Utah junior wide receiver and return man Britain Covey, along with freshman defensive tackle Junior Tafuna, have landed Pac-12 Player of the Week accolades, the conference announced on Monday. Covey was named Special Teams Player of the Week and Tafuna was selected as the league's Defensive Line Player of the Week.
Playing before a record crowd of 52,724 and an ABC primetime television audience, both had key roles in Utah's dominant win over No. 3-ranked Oregon on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium, clinching the Pac-12 South Division with the result.
Covey returned two punts for 90 yards and two other kickoffs for 59 yards during the game. His highlight of the night was a 78-yard punt return touchdown as the first half expired—his second punt return score this season and fourth of his career. Covey is the first Pac-12 player with multiple punt return touchdowns in a season since 2017. He is also just the 10th known player since 1937 with multiple 70-yard punt return touchdowns in a single year. The Provo, Utah, native is atop FBS with a 17.5 yard punt return average this season.
Tafuna turned in three tackles, including 1.5 sacks for nine yards, in the triumph over the Ducks. His first tackle was a third-down stop just before halftime—putting Oregon into a punt situation, with Covey ultimately bringing it back for the score as time expired. He wrapped up Ducks quarterback Anthony Brown for a seven-yard sack on the third play of the third quarter, and was in on another as time ticked away later that quarter. Tafuna now has 4.5 sacks on the season, leading all Pac-12 freshmen and ranking fourth of all rookies in the Power Five.
Covey last won Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 20, and it is the first Defensive Line Player of the Week accolade for Tafuna, the native of Taylorsville, Utah.
The win was the highest-ranked CFP victory for the Utes since the CFP was established in 2014. It was also the highest-AP-ranked victory for Utah inside Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Moving up to No. 16 in this week's AP poll, Utah (8-3, 7-1 Pac-12) concludes the regular season this Friday, Nov. 26, hosting Colorado (4-7, 3-5 Pac-12). It'll be a 2 p.m. MT kickoff from Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Senior Day matchup will air nationally on FOX.
Britain Covey • 2021 Awards and Accolades
- CoSIDA Academic All-District
- Paul Hornung Award Watch List
- Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week (Sept. 20, Nov. 22)
- Preseason All-America (Phil Steele, Athlon Sports)
- Preseason All-Pac-12
Junior Tafuna • 2021 Awards and Accolades
- Pac-12 Defensive Line Player of the Week (Nov. 22)