Utah’s Fitts, Lotulelei named to Bednarik Award watch list

Utah’s Fitts, Lotulelei named to Bednarik Award watch list

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Several college football award watch lists were released Monday with the University of Utah being represented well with two Utes being named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list.

Defensive end Kyle Fitts and defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei were named to the Bednarik Award watch list. The award has been presented to the best college defensive player of the year since 1995.

Heading into his senior season, Fitts only played in two games last year after suffering a season-ending injury. At the time of his injury, he was leading the team in tackles for loss with three and in sacks with 1.5. Fitts is expected to be full strength by the start of the upcoming season. In the 2015 season, he played in all games and led the Pac-12 in forced fumbles with four.

Lotulelei has been named All-Pac-12 all three seasons at Utah and has been a starter for the Utes since his true freshman season in 2014. Last season he recorded 28 tackles while having five tackles in both the Oregon and San Jose State games.

The Pac-12 has 13 players named to the Bednarik watch list, while the ACC leads the way with 18 candidates. USC has three players on the watch list, including linebacker Porter Gustin, who prepped at Salem Hills High School in Utah. Washington and Stanford also have two players each on the watch list to match Utah.

The Chuck Bednarik Award watch list pulls from FBS programs and various conferences across the country. In 2016, Jonathan Allen, an Alabama defensive end, won the Chuck Bednarik Award.

On Oct. 30, 2017, Fitts and Lotulelei will find out if they were chosen as semifinalists for the award. The final three finalists will be revealed on Nov. 20, 2017, with the winners of each award being announced on Dec. 7, 2017, at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

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