Utah's football program is known for producing outstanding defensive linemen, and the Utes have claimed their first Pac-12 weekly award for that position group.
Senior end Bradlee Anae earned that distinction Monday, being named both the Defensive Player of the Week and the Defensive Lineman of the Week in the conference after he recorded three sacks in Utah’s 21-3 defeat of Arizona State. The Pac-12 added offensive and defensive lineman awards this season in weekly voting by media members.
The overall defensive award is the first of Anae’s career and the third for a Ute player this season, with linebacker Francis Bernard having been honored after wins over BYU and Washington State.
Anae's 17 yards in sacks nearly matched ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels' 25 yards on four completions in 18 attempts. He also deflected a pass. Anae's second sack was his most important play, pushing the Sun Devils out of field goal range with Utah leading 14-3 in the third quarter.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham credited Anae's “outstanding moves” in pass rushing for his success against ASU. Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley's scheming also “structured some things to give him some freedom,” Whittingham said.
Anae ranks second in the Pac-12 with seven sacks for the season. His 24 career sacks give him an opportunity to catch former teammate Hunter Dimick (29½) for the school record.
In addition to his pass-rush skills, Anae “definitely has become a more complete player,” Whittingham said.
Anae joins running back Zack Moss, defensive tackle Leki Fotu and safety Julian Blackmon as players who are having good senior seasons for No. 12 Utah after deferring their NFL opportunities until 2020.