Which school can lay claim to being “DB U” or “QB U”?
ESPN set out to find the answer for all position groups, and Utah and BYU made appearances on the list.
ESPN set 1998, the start of the BCS, as the starting point for the rankings.
“Schools got points for all-conference and All-America selections, along with points for being drafted (weighted by round) and for success at the next level,” ESPN’s David M. Hale wrote. “For that last category, we looked at only the first four years of a player’s career (beyond that, the NFL should get credit for development) using Pro Football Reference’s weighted career value.”
Utah checked in at No. 2 in the “Punter U” rankings. At No. 1 is Texas A&M.
Of Utah’s nine consensus All-Americans in school history, two were punters — Tom Hackett and Mitch Wishnowsky. Wishnowsky is playing in the NFL currently as the San Francisco 49ers’ punter.
“The Aggies have taken the Punter U crown each of the past two years, thanks in large part to star Braden Mann, who was a sixth-round draft pick by the punt-first Jets,” Hale wrote. “Still, Utah and Tennessee remain hot on the Aggies’ trail. We still doubt that’s enough to get fans to start rooting against going for it on fourth down.”
Utah ranked No. 4 in the “Kicker U” rankings. Ahead of the Utes are Florida State at No. 1, followed by UCLA and Iowa. Ohio State rounded out the top five.
Of Utah’s nine consensus All-Americans in school history, two were kickers — Matt Gay and Louie Sakoda. Gay won a Super Bowl in 2022 as the Los Angeles Rams’ kicker. He also made a Pro Bowl.
While BYU didn’t make the top five for any position group, it was ranked the highest non-Power Five team in the “Tight End U” rankings, checking in at No. 14 overall.
Three of BYU’s 12 consensus All-Americans in school history were tight ends — Gordon Hudson, Dennis Pitta and Chris Smith.
The Cougars have sent plenty of tight ends to the NFL since 1997 — Gabe Reid, Dennis Pitta, Itula Mili, Chad Lewis, Doug Jolley, Daniel Coats and Matt Bushman.
Lewis was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Philadelphia Eagles and a Super Bowl champion with the St. Louis Rams and Pitta was a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens.