In a recent memo, a Salt Lake Tribune newsroom editor clarified that “watchlist” is one word. Good timing. The editor must have looked at the calendar.
Watchlist season is here, and Utah’s football program will be well represented among the nominees for individual awards this summer. This week, running back Zack Moss made the Maxwell Award list for the best overall player, defensive end Bradlee Anae and cornerback Jaylon Johnson made the Bednarik Award list for best defensive player, safety Terrell Burgess was nominated for the AFCA Good Works Team for community service and Johnson made the Lott IMPACT Trophy list for anther defensive award. Moss was added Thursday to the list of candidates for the Doak Walker Award for the top running back.
Utah’s Tyler Huntley was not among five Pac-12 quarterbacks who made the Davey O’Brien Award list that includes Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Stanford’s K.J. Costello, Arizona’s Khalil Tate, USC’s JT Daniels and Colorado’s Steven Montez. I’m expecting Huntley to play like a top-five quarterback in this conference in 2019, and for Moss to look like the best running back on the field in nearly every game.
In advance of next week's Pac-12 Football Media Day in Hollywood, I looked at how the anticipation of this Ute football season compares to others of this century. My research was based on the preseason AP Top 25, which won't be published until mid-August, but Utah should be solidly within those rankings.
Acknowledging my love of anniversary tie-ins, I looked the the 50-year history of the Huntsman Center that will be celebrated during the 2019-20 school year. My first look inside the venue came in the second year of its existence, the 1970-71 basketball season. How about you?
Utah’s 51st season of men’s basketball in the Huntsman Center includes the Nov. 8 home opener vs. Mississippi Valley State. Minnesota, UC Davis, BYU and Central Arkansas also will visit the campus during Utah’s nonconference schedule, announced Tuesday.
Returning to football, Tribune colleague Jay Drew has an update about improvements to the stadium in Provo where Utah will open the 2019 season.
USA Today ranks Johnson among the country’s top 10 defensive backs (USAT).
Dirk Facer of the Deseret News catches up with former Ute basketball player and staff member Phil Cullen (DNEWS).
Christopher Kamrani of The Athletic talks with Moss, whom the Utes will bring to the Pac-12 Media Day (ATH).
• Ute athletic director Mark Harlan continued his personnel moves with the hiring of Real Salt Lake’s Henry Ruggiero as executive director for Olympic sports performance. Ruggerio spent three years in charge of conditioning for RSL’s overall program, including the MLS team, the Utah Royals FC, the Real Monarchs and the youth academy programs. Before that, he worked at the University of Washington for eight years.
• Bamideli Olaseni, Utah’s prized junior college recruit as an offensive tackle, is expected to arrive on campus in early August after his academic work is processed. Preseason camp begins July 31. Former UCLA linebacker Mique Juarez, who announced in May that he would join the Utes as a graduate transfer, may have done so prematurely. Juarez is not listed on the 2019 roster and likely won’t come until after this season.
• Eric Daniels, the son of Ute basketball staff member Donny Daniels, has moved from Utah Valley University to Weber State as an assistant to coach Randy Rahe. That sets up a Daniels family reunion Dec. 14 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in the Zions Bank Beehive Classic. Donny Daniels, now Utah’s director of player development, once opposed his son as a Gonzaga assistant when UVU visited the Bulldogs.
• Ute women’s basketball players Niyah Becker of Canada and Lola Pendande of Spain will compete in the FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup, starting Saturday in Thailand.
• Idaho State, Utah’s third opponent of the 2019 football season, was picked to finish seventh in the 13-team Big Sky Conference in each of the coaches’ and media polls. Sacramento State, coached by former Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, was picked 11th and 12th, respectively.