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Super Early All-Pac-12 Football Predictions

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Which Utes will earn All-Conference honors in 2016-17?

Oct 10, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive back Marcus Williams (20) intercepts a pass intended for California Golden Bears wide receiver Kenny Lawler (4) during the first quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Oct 10, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive back Marcus Williams (20) intercepts a pass intended for California Golden Bears wide receiver Kenny Lawler (4) during the first quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

As finals dwindle and summer approaches, it’s time to move on from the 2015-16 academic year and focus our attention on 2016-17.  The Utah Football team will have big shoes to fill as it is coming off its most successful year since joining the Pac-12 Conference (10-3) in 2011.  With the departure of superstar running back Devontae Booker (drafted by the Denver Broncos) as well as several other very talented players, next year’s team will need guys to step up big.

Newly appointed Defensive Coordinator Morgan Scalley will look to improve an already outstanding defense that should have little trouble at the line of scrimmage.  The Utes have one of the best defensive lines in the country, featuring key returners Lowell Lotulelei, Hunter Dimick, and Kylie Fitts.  On the other side of the ball, look for guys like J.J. Dielman and Isaac Asiata to set the pace in the trenches.

The real question comes from the skill positions.  Who will replace Travis Wilson at QB?  Will Joe Williams solidify himself as the lead back?  With the losses of veteran Kenneth Scott and the elusive Britain Covey (LDS Church Mission), who might emerge as the top receiver?  These questions will be answered sooner rather than later once summer workouts begin.  Tyler Huntley put up solid numbers in the Spring Game and even though that’s going off of a small sample size of work, if he can stay consistent, he could make an immediate impact.  Joe Williams looked sharp as Booker’s replacement at the end of last season; maybe with the confidence as the lead back he’ll be even better.  There are many questions that need answers, but one thing remains consistent: Utah’s trench players are studs.

Though it is still very, very early for All-Conference predictions, I thought it’d be fun to make one to kick off the summer.

First Team Offense

J.J. Dielman – OL

Second Team Offense

Isaac Asiata – OL

First Team Defense

Hunter Dimick – DL

Lowell Lotulelei – DL

Marcus Williams – DB

Second Team Defense

Kylie Fitts – DL

First Team Specialists

Andy Phillips – K

Honorable Mention

Joe Williams – RB

The only "issue" with Utah’s defensive line is that it has so many talented players that the coaches will rotate them in and out more often, which will result in fewer individual plays made.  That being said, still expect Lotulelei, Dimick, and Fitts to anchor the defense and set the tone.  And since the middle will be plugged up, expect teams to attack the outside.  This could lead to more action for the defensive backs, opening up opportunities for more of them to put up numbers.

Which Utes do you think will earn Pac-12 All-Conference accolades?