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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah senior defensive end Nate Orchard was awarded the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award Wednesday, which is given to the nation's best defensive end.
“I am proud to congratulate Nate Orchard from the University of Utah as the winner of this year’s Hendricks Award,” Ted Hendricks said in a statement. “What he has meant to his team in leadership, on field performance, humility and academic excellence cannot be overstated. Nate certainly illustrates all that is right about collegiate academics and athletics.
“He is an exceptionally well-rounded young man and there is no mistaking his contributions both on and off the field,” Hendricks added. “I welcome Nate Orchard to the impressive alumni list of the Hendricks Award.”
Orchard led the nation in sacks per game (1.46) and was second in the nation in total sacks this season with 17.5 — a Utah record. Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha topped Orchard for first with a half sack more, finishing with 18.0. Orchard finished in the nation’s top five in tackles for loss, ending the regular season with 20 tackles for loss for 118 yards.
Orchard is one of two Pac-12 athletes to have won the award and is the 13th athlete to win the award all time. Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs won the award the first year it was available in 2002.
In addition to the Ted Hendricks Award, Orchard was named to the first team All-Pac-12 last week. Orchard finishes his career at Utah with 24 career sacks (three short of tying the school record) for 113 total yards (one yard short of tying the school record) and 37.5 tackles for loss.
The award is given to one football player who embodies on-field performance, leadership qualities and contributions to the school and community. Finalists included USC’s Leonard Williams, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha and Missouri’s Shane Ray.
“This has been an extraordinary year for our Hendricks Award candidates,” Hendricks said in a statement. “All six finalists are extremely talented, team leaders and deserving of the 2014 award.”
Orchard will be officially honored at a presentation dinner in Miami sometime next spring.