Utah's first Pac-12 South football championship team was rewarded Tuesday with a program-record nine players being selected to the All-Pac-12 first team.
All nine of Utah's senior starters received at least honorable mention in the voting by the conference's coaches.
The Utes' first-team choices are senior offensive guard Jordan Agasiva, senior offensive tackle Jackson Barton, junior defensive end Bradlee Anae, junior defensive tackle Leki Fotu, senior linebacker Chase Hansen, sophomore cornerback Jaylon Johnson, senior kicker Matt Gay, senior punter Mitch Wishnowsky and sophomore return specialist Britain Covey.
Utah accounted for one-third of the 27 first-team picks; league champion Washington had six first-team selections and perennial power USC had none.
Utah junior running back Zack Moss, junior defensive tackle John Penisini, junior cornerback Julian Blackmon and senior safety Marquise Blair made the all-conference second team. Honorable mention went to senior safety Corrion Ballard, senior linebacker Cody Barton, senior offensive lineman Lo Falemaka and sophomore defensive back Javelin Guidry. Barton may have deserved more recognition, but the Pac-12 is loaded with linebackers.
USC defensive linemen Porter Gustin, from Salem Hills High School, and Jay Tufele, from Bingham, made the second team. Gustin missed the second half of the season, due to injury.
Moss was lost for the season after nine games with a knee injury; Covey also is expected to miss the Holiday Bowl vs. Northwestern after injuring his knee while returning the second-half kickoff in Utah's loss to Washington in the Pac-12 championship game last week. Moss and Anae are considering entering the NFL draft as juniors.
Wishnowsky is the conference's only three-time selection to the first team. He's a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, to be announced Thursday. Gay repeated as a first-teamer.
Blackmon also was a second-team pick in 2017 and Covey, Hansen and Falemaka received honorable mention earlier in their careers.
Defensively, Hansen leads the Pac-12 with 22 tackles for loss, Anae is first with eight sacks and Johnson is tied for first with four interceptions.
Agasiva and Jackson Barton were Utah's most consistent offensive lineman. Wishnowsky and Gay, former national award winners, had outstanding senior seasons and Covey made an impact as a punt returner with 221 yards, ranking second in the conference.
The Pac-12′s individual award winners included Washington State’s Mike Leach (Coach of the Year), WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew (Offensive Player of the Year), Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (Defensive Player of the Year), Arizona State linebacker Merlin Robertson (Defensive Freshman of the Year) and Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson (Offensive Freshman of the Year).
Utah didn’t play OSU; the other honorees performed very well against the Utes.
The 2019 Utah-BYU football game will be played on a Thursday in Provo to begin the season in August and the Utes will open the Pac-12 schedule vs. USC on a Friday in Los Angeles.
The schedule announced Tuesday by the Pac-12 includes two byes for Utah during a 14-week schedule, placed at almost even intervals. The Utes will be off the weekends before visiting Oregon State in mid-October and hosting UCLA in mid-November.
The 2019 season launches another eight-year cycle of Pac-12 scheduling rotations. The Utes will meet North opponents Washington State, Oregon State, California and Washington each of the next two seasons and miss Stanford and Oregon.
The rematch of last week’s Pac-12 championship game comes Nov. 2 in Seattle. Washington will have a bye the previous week.
As is customary in odd-numbered years, the Utes will have five conference home games and seven home games overall in 2019. For the first time since 2002, all of Utah’s home games will be played on Saturdays.
UTAH’S 2019 SCHEDULE
Aug. 29 – at BYU.
Sept. 7 – Northern Illinois
Sept. 14 – Idaho State.
Sept. 20 – at USC.
Sept. 28 – Washington State
Oct. 12 – at Oregon State.
Oct. 19 – Arizona State.
Oct. 26 – California.
Nov. 2 – at Washington.
Nov. 16 – UCLA.
Nov. 23 – at Arizona.
Nov. 30 – Colorado.
Oct. 5 Bye
Oct. 12 at Oregon State* Corvallis, Ore.
Oct. 19 Arizona State* Salt Lake City
Oct. 26 California* Salt Lake City
Nov. 2 at Washington* Seattle
Nov. 9 Bye
Nov. 16 UCLA* Salt Lake City
Nov. 23 at Arizona* Tucson, Ariz.
Nov. 30 Colorado* Salt Lake City