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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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(Franciso Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Quarterback Andy Phillips lines it up with the help of fellow kicker Tom Hackett as the University of Utah football team gets ready for the season during Spring practice at the Spence Eccles Football Facility on Thursday, April 17, 2014.
Phillips and Hackett grace Groza, Guy watch lists

Preseason watch lists may not carry a ton of meaning, but Utah is putting its best feet forward with voters.

Punter Tom Hackett and placekicker Andy Phillips were named to the Ray Guy and Lou Groza watch lists, respectively, on Wednesday.

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A former Australian rules football player, Hackett may have the strongest chance of any Ute at collecting postseason hardware — particularly if things don’t go well and the Utes often require his services.

Hackett led the Pac-12 in punting yards (3,300), average (43.4), punts inside the 20 (27) and punts of 50-plus yards (19). (It’s a safe bet that the junior is the only guy on the list with the bio note, "family does not understand American football.")

Phillips was a 2013 semifinalist for the Lou Groza award, won by Florida State freshman Robert Aguayo after he set a national record for points by a kicker with 157.

Having never kicked in a competitive football game before, Phillips hit 17 of 20 field goals as a freshman and was a perfect 41-for-41 on extra points. In spring, the former U.S. Ski Team member drilled a 59-yarder before launching into a flip.

Both awards fields will be pared to three finalists on Nov. 24, with the winner selected Dec. 11.

As pointed out by @utahathletics, Utah is one of just three teams in the country with players on both watch lists.

Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson was named Monday to the 76-player watch list for the Maxwell Award, recognizing the nation’s best player.

— Matthew Piper


Twitter: @matthew_piper

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