Bleeding Red: So long and thanks to Utah’s seniors

(sung to the tune of “So Long, Farewell,” from the Sound of Music)
So long, farewell, it has been quite a ride
We cheered, we screamed, and sometimes we did cry
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu
Thank you for playing football at the U

COMMENTARY – A number of players have played their last football game for the Utah Utes. Some will have a chance to play on Sundays, some will have an opportunity to coach, others will be moving on with life after football.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for bringing your talents to the hill. May each and every one of the players moving on have success in all of their future endeavors.

Right up front, I would like to apologize to the many players who have not received the write-up they deserve below. I am not intentionally trying to slight anyone. Unfortunately, I simply do not have room to sing the praises of every single senior and his accomplishments. But I do want to take a shot at least pointing out some highlights.

I know, I know, Jordan Wynn was not a senior this year as far as eligibility goes, but his career at Utah is over. As a freshman, Wynn played well enough to stoke the fires of high expectations for years to come. It is a shame that injuries cut his career short and made him gun-shy in the latter part of his career. Wynn has been hired as the new quarterbacks coach at the University of Hawaii. His playing days are over, but his coaching career has just begun.

Jon Hayes has my utmost respect. This gritty quarterback spent two years in the junior college ranks at Butte College. Hayes was on his way to the University of Nebraska-Omaha when that school decided to drop its football program, making him available to Utah. A lot has been said about the ceiling on his talent, but there is no limit to his heart and courage. After Wynn went down with an injury last year, Hayes stepped in and won a number of games for Utah, including a win over Georgia Tech in last year’s Sun Bowl.

Running back John White IV made the most of his brief two years on the hill. When Wynn went down in 2011, White was the lynchpin in the Utah offense and in the process set two school records – most rushing yards in a season with 1,519 and most carries in a season with 316. White is the only Ute in history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons (Eddie Johnson is the only other Ute to rush for 1,000 yards in two seasons – in 1984 and 1986). White also holds the school record for most 100-yard rushing games in a career with 14. White ends his career in sixth place on Utah’s all-time rushing list with 2,560 yards (too bad we won’t get to see what he could have done with another year or two). White was named as an All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention (he was a second team selection last year).

Reggie Dunn was a walking (running?) highlight reel this past year. While Dunn also played wide receiver, it was as a kick returner that he made his mark. Dunn finishes his college career with five (count ‘em, five!) NCAA kickoff return records. They are:

  • Four 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in a single season
  • Five 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in a career
  • Two 100-yard kickoff returns in a single game
  • A 74.0 kick return average in a single game
  • Two kick returns for touchdowns from any distance in a game (tied with two others).

It was only fitting that he should end his career with a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown in the season finale against Colorado. Dunn was named to the All-Pac-12 Conference First Team.

Star Lotulelei was not only one of the premier defensive linemen in the conference, garnering All-Pac-12 Conference First Team honors for the second year in a row, he was one of the top defensive linemen in the nation. We will get to see a lot more of Lotulelei as he will be playing on Sundays next year. Most NFL mock draft pundits have Lotulelei drafted in the top five, with some having him as high as the second pick. Currently ESPN’s Mel Kiper is projecting him as the third pick in the draft.

Offensive lineman Sam Brenner was named to the All-Pac-12 Conference Second Team. Fellow offensive lineman Tevita Stevens was All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention and also made the Pac-12 All-Academic First Team.

Punter Sean Sellwood was also recognized as All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention, as well as the Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team (after having been a first team selection last year).

Other honorees on the Pac-12 All-Academic First Team include wide receiver Luke Matthews and linebacker Dave Fagergren.

Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention also went to tight end Dallin Rogers and long snapper Patrick Greene.

Other seniors include defensive linemen Dave Kruger and Joape Pela, cornerbacks Ryan Lacy and Mo Lee, wide receiver DeVonte Christopher, kicker Coleman Petersen, tight ends Kendrick Moeai and David Rolf, linebacker Boo Anderson, offensive lineman Miles Mason, defensive backs Reggie Topps, Keith McGill and Lewis Walker and fullback Max Moala.

Congratulations for accomplishing something that I can only dream about. Thank you for giving me something to care about.

~

Dwayne Vance is a sports commentator. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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