As Utah embarks on a season where few things seem certain, they are at least in one sense sure-footed.
Punter Tom Hackett and kicker Andy Phillips were named preseason All-Americans in Phil Steele’s College Football Review, with Hackett on the second team and Phillips on the third squad.
Hackett was first-team all-Pac-12 as a sophomore, averaging 43.4 yards per punt on a team that often, especially later in the season, required his services. Hackett led the league in punt yards (3,300), average (43.4), punts inside the 20 (27) and punts of more than 50 yards (19), using a cagey approach that is often referred to as "rugby style" but might be more appropriately called "Australian rules football style" in the Melbourne native’s case.
Phillips, kicking competitively for the first time, was honorable mention all-Pac-12 last year, going 17 for 20. The former U.S. Ski Team downhiller drilled a 59-yarder in spring.
Steele also pegged Hackett and Phillips as first-team all-Pac-12 performers next season. Receiver Dres Anderson and punt returner Geoffrey Norwood were projected second-teamers, offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi and defensive end Nate Orchard were third-teamers, and running back Devontae Booker, linebacker Jason Whittingham and defensive backs Eric Rowe and Brian Blechen were fourth-teamers.
— Matthew Piper
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