Red All Over is a weekly newsletter covering University of Utah athletics. Subscribe here.
Former Utah gymnast Kari Lee and football player Chase Hansen were named this week as 2018-19 winners of the Tom Hansen Conference Medal, awarded to an outstanding senior female and male athlete at each Pac-12 school.
The award is for achievements in athletics, academics and leadership. Ute gymnasts often have been recognized in the school's eight years of Pac-12 membership; Lee follows Mary Beth Lofgren, Georgia Dabritz, Breanna Hughes and Maddy Stover. Football players Derrick Shelby and Hunter Dimick have been honored.
Lee won 20 event titles in her career and posted highs of 9.975 on bars and beam, while coming back from Achilles surgery during her five-year career. She graduated in business administration. Lee also is Utah’s nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.
Hansen moved from safety to linebacker as a senior and made the All-Pac-12 first team after leading the conference with 22 tackles for loss in 13 games. He earned a degree in consumer and community studies. Hansen is on the New Orleans Saints roster and hopes to be ready for training camp in late July after having surgery in January to repair a herniated disk.
In other gymnastics news this week, the Utes have landed Emilie LeBlanc, who will be immediately eligible in 2020 as a transfer from Maryland. In football, the biggest development is a commitment from quarterback Katravis Marsh in the high school class of 2020. Marsh is a dual-threat QB who extends Utah’s recruiting pipeline in south Florida, the home of Tyler Huntley and other Utes.
I also checked in with quarterback Cameron Rising, who’s maintaining a good attitude after the NCAA denied his request for a waiver to play in 2019.
Ute basketball player Donnie Tillman’s search for another school continued this week with a visit to Illinois. Tillman told Illinois recruiting expert Ryan Evan that he likes the Illini’s uptempo style, while noting that he has received considerable interest from other schools (he visited Rutgers, also of the Big Ten) and has no timetable for making a decision about where he’ll enroll in August.
In baseball, the hiring of veteran coach Gary Henderson is viewed as a big upgrade to Bill Kinneberg’s staff. Henderson’s title is associate head coach; he’s known for his work with pitchers.
• Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner analyzes the strongest and weakest position areas of Pac-12 South football teams (MERC).
• Utah almost universally is the pick to win the Pac-12 South. Here’s one set of bowl projections that takes the forecast to another level. (CFN).
• Dirk Facer of the Deseret News talks with coach Kyle Whittingham and defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley about managing expectations in 2019 (DNEWS).
• The Kansas City-based Populous architecture firm, partnering with VCBO of Salt Lake City to design the south end zone renovation of Rice-Eccles Stadium, said in a news release that the project would start after the 2019 season. Utah’s previous timetables always mentioned the end of the 2020 season. Ute athletic director Mark Harlan clarified on ESPN 700 that some work will begin in December, but would not affect seating in 2020, and August 2021 remains the completion date for the Ken Garff Performance Zone.
• Utah’s 2019 women’s soccer season will start Aug. 22 at Clemson, followed by a visit to Alabama three days later, according to the schedule announced Wednesday. The team’s home opener is Aug. 30 vs. Utah State at Ute Field, the new soccer/lacrosse stadium on campus. Utah will launch the Pac-12 schedule Sept. 27 at Arizona State and then host Oregon State on Oct. 3.