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More preseason nods for Utes kickers

Published June 18, 2014 2:54 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utes' special teams continue to get some preseason nods as a number of football guides start publishing their all-conference lists.

For some of Utah's other star players, they're apparently waiting for the Pac-12 to add third and fourth all-conference teams if predictions hold true.

Kicker Andy Phillips and punter Tom Hackett got their second first-team all-conference nods in a week, this one from Athlon Sports. After Phil Steele gave them both All-American status last week, the hype for Utah special teams continues — well, as much "hype" as special teams can generate.

After that, the only Utah player who made the top two squads was safety-turned-corner Eric Rowe, who is slated for the second team.

On the third team, wide receiver Dres Anderson and returner Geoffrey Norwood both made the cut. Defensive end Nate Orchard and safety Brian Blechen were on the fourth team.

UCLA had the most preseason picks with 15, Stanford had 14 and Oregon had 13. Athlon Sports has predicted that the Ducks will win the conference title game over UCLA. Utah is projected to finish fifth in the South.

It's all a guessing game at this point, but one rooted in the Utes' track record. Utah had eight total all-conference honorees last year, but four of them have graduated. Hackett was a first-teamer last year, while Anderson, Phillips and Jason Whittingham were honorable mentions.

The Utes are more focused on getting a winning record this fall, but a winning record could net a few more individual awards if Utah is able to get on track.

Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon