For the first time, the Pac-12 Media Poll released today included a preseason all-conference team. The Utah Utes, the preseason conference favorite, led the way with all-conference selections with 11. Utah also had the most on the all-conference first-team with five: running back Zack Moss, defensive linemen Bradlee Anae and Leki Fotu, and defensive backs Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson. Offensive lineman Darrin Paulo, defensive lineman John Penisini, and all-purpose Britain Covey were tabbed as second-team selections. Tight end Cole Fotheringham, defensive back Javelin Guidry, and punter Ben Lennon were all honorable mention selections.
Utah’s four first-team selections on defense was the most of any team in the conference. Utah had as many defensive first-team selections as the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks on offense/defense/special teams combined (both Stanford and Oregon were tied for second in the Pac-12 with first-team selections).
Despite not playing a single down of Pac-12 football yet, the media has enough respect for Utah punters to honor Lennon. Lennon was one of just four punters to receive preseason all-conference recognition.
It surprises me a little that there were no honorable mention quarterbacks. Either the conference chose not to include any or voters unanimously voted for Oregon’s Justin Herbert (who received 31 out of 33 first-place votes) and Stanford’s K.J. Costello as the top two quarterbacks in the conference. If those two are the only ones to receive votes, it would surprise me a little (no votes for Washington’s Jacob Eason or an LA homer giving the nod to JT Daniels, I mean two writers picked the USC Trojans to win the whole conference, or Gage Gubrud at Washington State).
It hurts a little seeing Utah natives Jay Tufele (first-team defensive line) and Penei Sewell (second-team offensive line) make the all-conference team for USC and Oregon respectively instead of their hometown Utes. Having five first-team selections does ease the blow a bit (especially with Utah pulling Johnson out of California over USC). Two of Utah’s first-team selections are from Utah: Blackmon and Fotu.
The full list can be viewed here.