SALT LAKE CITY — And the end-of-the-season awards go to … Utah.
The Utah football team cleaned up the postseason Pac-12 honors Tuesday, with several of its starting players being named to the conference’s First Team selection.
The honors were topped by senior running back Zack Moss, who claimed the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year award; and head coach Kyle Whittingham, who was named the conference’s Coach of the Year.
It’s the first time in program history that Utah has claimed a Pac-12 player of the year award, and the first since the 2008 season when former quarterback Brian Johnson was earned the top honor in the Mountain West Conference.
It’s also the first Coach of the Year award for Whittingham in the Pac-12 and his second all-time, his first coming in 2008 after Utah went undefeated on the season.
Utah had eight starters, three on offense and five on defense, named to the Pac-12 First Team, which is the most of any other team in the conference in back-to-back seasons. Those named to the First Team selection include:
- QB - Tyler Huntley
- RB - Zack Moss
- OL - Darrin Paulo
- DE - Bradlee Anae
- DT - Leki Fotu
- LB - Francis Bernard
- S - Julian Blackmon
- CB - Jaylon Johnson
Sophomore tight end Brant Kuithe and senior defensive tackle John Penisini were also named to the Pac-12 Second Team selection. Seven other players — including safety Terrell Burgess, nickelback Javelin Guidry, linebacker Devin Lloyd, offensive lineman Simi Moala, defense end Mika Tafua, and offensive linemen Nick Ford and Orlando Umana — earned honorable mentions.
For winning the Coach of the Year award, Whittingham collects a $55,000 bonus. That’s in addition to his bonus of approximately $216,667 for making a bowl game, $100,000 for a Pac-12 Championship Game appearance, and another $15,000 for being ranked in the Top 25 this season. The 15-year head coach also has the chance to make an extra $100,000 should Utah stay ranked in the final Top 25 rankings of the season.
Whittingham was also named the AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year Tuesday, which is the second of his career. The longest-tenured coach in the conference led Utah to his fifth 10-win season and second 11-win season. He also holds the all-time bowl game winning percentage of 84.6% and an 11-2 bowl game record.
Former Utah head coach Urban Meyer, Whittingham’s predecessor, holds the second best bowl percentage record at 80% and a 12-3 record between four schools — Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State.
A full list of the awards from the Pac-12 can be viewed here.