Three Utah Lineman Named To Outland Trophy Watch List

Aug 1, 2023, 2:14 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – There has been talk this offseason Utah football is running deep on their lines and the Outland Trophy watch list proves it as three Utes are listed.

Keaton Bills (offensive line), Sataoa Laumea (offensive line) and Junior Tafuna (defensive line) have all been named to the preseason watch list for the prestigious award given out to the best interior linemen in the country.

The Utes are just one of five teams on the list with three candidates and the only Pac-12 team with a defensive lineman named.

Earlier in the offseason all three players were named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 list while Tafuna and Bills were also given preseason All-American status.

Taking A Look At Utah’s Outland Trophy Candidates

All three of Utah’s Outland Trophy nominees have been an impressive and important part of Utah’s back-to-back Pac-12 Titles and Rose Bowl appearances over the past two season and will be a critical part of whatever the Utes accomplish in 2023.

Keaton Bills

Bills has played left guard in every one of his 33 career games and 25 starts at Utah. Bills was recognized last season with All-Pac-12 honors while helping the Utes to 217.6 rushing yards per game. The offensive line along with Bills only allowed 1.07 sacks per game in 2022.

Sataoa Laumea

Laumea has played in 33 games as a Ute, starting 31 with 19 spent at right guard and 13 at right tackle. Alongside Bills, Laumea’s efforts helped Utah to the 11th-best rushing offense in the FBS in 2022. Laumea is a three-time All-Pac-12 selection while earning first team in 2022.

Junior Tafuna

Tafuna has played in 27 games at Utah with 25 consecutive starts. In 2022, Tafuna earned All-Pac-12 second-team after posting 27 tackles (3.5 TFL, 1.0 sack), an interception, two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Three Utah Lineman Named To Outland Trophy Watch List