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Utah’s Cam Rising named to Davey O’Brien Award watch list

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Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) scores a rushing touchdown past Southern California defensive lineman Nick Figueroa.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) scores a rushing touchdown past Southern California defensive lineman Nick Figueroa (50) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

Cam Rising’s best game at Utah brought him national honors.

The Utes quarterback was named to the Davey O’Brien’s Great 8 list for Week 6, which was doubled to 16 honorees following an overwhelming positive week for signal-callers.

Rising led Utah to a 42-26 victory over USC last Saturday, the program’s first win in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The quarterback completed 22 of 28 passes for 306 yards — the first 300-yard passing game for a Utah QB since 2019 — and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards and another score.

By virtue of being named to the Week 6 Great 8 list, Rising was also named to the midseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, given annually to the nation’s top college quarterback.


Utah State’s Deven Thompkins added to Biletnikoff Award watch list (Sept. 29)

Utah State’s Deven Thompkins is getting recognized for his early season success.

The senior wide receiver was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list on Sept. 29. The Biletnikoff Award is given annually to the nation’s most outstanding college football receiver.

Thompkins ranks third nationally in receiving with 514 yards, and his 29 receptions ranks 11th in the country through the first four weeks of the 2021 college football season. He also has three receiving touchdowns.

Three Utah college football players — BYU center James Empey, Utah State defensive end Nick Heninger and Utah long snapper Keegan Markgraf — were also named semifinalists for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is given annually to the player who displays the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance.


BYU’s Jaren Hall on Davey O’Brien Award watch list (Sept. 13)

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall earned some well-deserved recognition.

The sophomore was one of eight quarterbacks named to the Week 2 Davey O’Brien’s Great 8 list for his performance in leading BYU past Utah 26-17 on Sept. 11.

Hall completed 18 of 30 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 92 yards on eight carries, helping the Cougars snap a nine-game losing streak to Utah.

By virtue of being named to the Great 8 list, Hall was also named to the midseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, given annually to the nation’s top college quarterback.

The other seven quarterbacks on the Week 2 Davey O’Brien’s Great 8 list include Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, Oregon’s Anthony Brown, Memphis’ Seth Henigan, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Stanford’s Tanner McKee and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.


Preseason watch lists

Here’s a look at every Utah tie to make a preseason watch list this summer:

Walter Camp Award

College football player of the year

No locals on watch list

2020 Walter Camp Award winner: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1967): None


Paul Hornung Award

Nation’s most versatile player

Allgeier led the Cougars with 1,130 rushing yards last season and added 174 receiving yards. This is the third preseason award watch list Allgeier has been named to.

One of the most versatile players in the state, the shifty Covey has been successful as both a receiver and return man. For his career, he has 1,497 receiving yards, 665 punt return yards and 478 kick return yards with 10 total touchdowns.

2020 Hornung Award winner: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 2010): None


Wuerffel Trophy

College football’s premier award for community service

A regular volunteer in the community, Empey organized BYU Football’s involvement with the My Tiny Hero program locally in Utah, raising awareness for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). This is the third watch list he has been named to.

Earlier this year, Tafua received press for helping coordinate immediate emergency care for a woman who had given birth on a flight Tafua was on from Salt Lake City to his native Hawaii.

A transfer this season from Oregon State, Tyler Jr. is an honor roll student who has already graduated from OSU. He is the second Aggie to be named to a preseason award watch list, joining fellow transfer Justin Rice.

2020 Wuerffel Trophy winner: Teton Saltes, OT, New Mexico

Previous local winners (first awarded in 2005): None


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Utah Utes punter Ben Lennon (33) holds the ball as Utah Utes place kicker Jadon Redding (97) kicks a field goal as Utah and Oregon State play a college football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Lou Groza Award

Nation’s top placekicker

Oldroyd was one of three finalists for the Groza Award in 2020. He was a perfect 13-for-13 on field goals last season, earning four All-America honors as a result, and enters the 2021 season No. 2 all-time at BYU in career field goal percentage (78.1%, 32 of 42).

Redding was named Pac-12 All-Conference first-team last season. He made 8 of 8 field goals last year and was a perfect 17 of 17 on point-after attempts.

2020 Lou Groza Award winner: Jose Borregales, K, Miami

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1992): Matt Gay, Utah (Orem High), 2017


Ray Guy Award

College punter of the year

No locals on watch list

2020 Ray Guy Award winner: Pressley Harvin III, P, Georgia Tech

Previous local winners (first awarded in 2000): Tom Hackett, Utah, 2014 and 2015; Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah, 2016


Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Nation’s most outstanding defensive player

Lloyd earns his third preseason watch list nomination for this season. He is one of nine Pac-12 players on the Nagurski list and just one of two Pac-12 linebackers, along with Colorado’s Nate Landman.

Wilgar earns his second preseason watch list nomination after a breakout 2020 season when the St. George native (Dixie High) had 57 tackles and a team-high five QB hurries.

2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1993): None


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BYU center James Empey prepares to snap the ball during the Cougars’ scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019.

Gabriel Mayberry, BYU

Outland Trophy

Nation’s most outstanding interior lineman

Empey is one of 16 centers on the Outland Trophy watch list. This is his third straight year being named to the preseason watch list for the award.

2020 Outland Trophy winner: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1946): Merlin Olsen, Utah State (Logan High), 1961; Jason Buck, BYU, 1986; Mohammed Elewonibi, BYU, 1989; Penei Sewell, Oregon (Desert Hills High), 2019


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Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell (1) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz.

Rick Scuteri, Associated Press

Butkus Award

Nation’s best linebacker

Lloyd is named to the preseason Butkus Award watch list for the second straight season. He is one of eight Pac-12 linebackers named to the watch list.

Sewell was the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and was named a freshman All-American by several organizations. He led the Ducks in total tackles last year (45), the only true freshman to do so among Power Five programs.

Wilgar proved effective in defending both the run and the pass last season, finishing 2020 with 57 tackles, five tackles for loss, a team-high five QB hurries, four pass breakups and a forced fumble.

2020 Butkus Award winner: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1985): None


Paycom Jim Thorpe Award

Best defensive back in college football

No locals on watch list

2020 Jim Thorpe Award winner: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1986): None


John Mackey Award

Nation’s most outstanding tight end

The veteran Fotheringham is named to the Mackey Award preseason watch list for the first time. He’s started 28 career games and caught 37 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns in his career.

Rex took over a starting role for an injured Matt Bushman last season for the Cougars and had a breakout season. He finished the year with 37 receptions for 429 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdown catches.

2020 Mackey Award winner: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Previous local winners (first awarded in 2000): None


Rimington Trophy

Nation’s premier center 

Empey has been a three-year starter for BYU — starting 34 games in his Cougar career — and goes into the 2021 season as the anchor on a BYU offensive line that is replacing multiple starters. Both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports named Empey a top four center nationally entering 2021.

2020 Rimington Trophy winner: Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 2000): None


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BYU wide receiver Gunner Romney makes a catch during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Troy on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Provo, Utah.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Biletnikoff Award

Nation’s most outstanding college football receiver

Romney caught 39 passes for 767 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games last season and was an in-season add to the 2020 Biletnikoff Award watch list. His 19.67 yards-per-reception average was tied for 15th nationally.

2020 Biletnikoff Award winner: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1994): None


BYU running back Tyler Allgeier runs for a large gain against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl.

Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) runs for a large gain against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Doak Walker Award

Nation’s premier college running back

Allgeier averaged 7.53 yards per carry last season and emerged as the Cougars’ go-to back. This is his first time on the Doak Walker preseason watch list.

2020 Doak Walker Award winner: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1990): Luke Staley, BYU, 2001


Utah Utes quarterback Charlie Brewer throws during the Red and White Game in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 17, 2021.

Utah Utes quarterback Charlie Brewer (12) throws during the Red and White game in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 17, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Davey O’Brien Award

Nation’s best college quarterback

The transfer Brewer was a 2019 semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award — along with then-Utah QB Tyler Huntley — and made the preseason watch list last year at Baylor. In that 2019 season, he threw for 3,161 yards with 21 TD passes and seven interceptions.

2020 Davey O’Brien Award winner: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1981): Jim McMahon, BYU (Roy High), 1981; Steve Young, BYU, 1983; Ty Detmer, BYU, 1990 and 1991


Maxwell Award

College player of the year

Allgeier is one of 14 sophomores named to the Maxwell watch list. He rushed for 1,130 yards and scored 13 touchdowns in a breakout season for the Cougars in 2020. 

Brewer made the Maxwell watch list twice during his time at Baylor, and is on it again with Utah. He threw for 9,700 yards and 65 touchdowns while starting four seasons for the Bears before transferring.

2020 Maxwell Award winner: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1937): Ty Detmer, BYU, 1990


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Nevada quarterback Carson Strong is tackled by Fresno State linebacker Justin Rice during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.

Gary Kazanjian, Associated Press

Bednarik Award

College defensive player of the year

Lloyd had a standout 2020 season, earning All-Pac-12 first-team honors. He finished the year with a team-high 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a QB hurry. 

Rice was named to the 2020 Bednarik watch list before he transferred from Fresno State to Arkansas State for the year. He’s now in Logan as a grad transfer, after putting up 76 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks last season.

2020 Bednarik Award winner: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Previous local winners (first awarded in 1995): None