Trio Of Utes Named To Post-Season Watchlists

Nov 1, 2023, 3:14 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football had a trio of Utes make post-season watchlists over the past couple of days.

Defensive end Jonah Elliss was one of 12 semi-finalists named for the Lombardi Award, safety Cole Bishop was named a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, and quarterback Bryson Barnes was named to the Burlsworth Trophy.

All three players have played major roles in Utah’s 6-2 record for the 2023 season despite the mounting injuries for the Utes.

Jonah Elliss + Lombardi Award

The Lombardi Award is given annually to a college football offensive or defensive lineman who exemplifies the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Fame head coach Vince Lombardi.

Elliss currently ranks third in the FBS and first among Power Five players in total sacks with 10 and sits in a tie for fourth nationally in total tackles for loss at 14 through eight games played.

The talented defensive end has 32 total tackles along with a forced fumble and one pass breakup so far this season.

Elliss’ career-high game against UCLA ended with 10 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Elliss’ 5 tackles for loss against the Bruins were the most by a Pac-12 player since 2021 while his 3.5 sacks were the most by a Pac-12 player since the 2017 season.

Cole Bishop + Jim Thorpe Award

The Jim Thorpe Award is given annually to the nation’s best defensive back and Bishop has certainly proven to be top tier in 2023.

Bishop is currently tied for the team lead in total tackles with 42 through eight games this season, while adding 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions, five passes defended, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

So far, Bishop has averaged 5.2 tackles per game this season. Bishop had a key play early in the Utes’ season against Baylor- a pick that set up Utah’s game winning touchdown drive and moved them to 2-0 on the year to that point.

Bryson Barnes + Burlsworth Trophy

The Burlsworth Trophy is given annually to the most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on. The award is named after Brandon Burlsworth, a former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman.

In the award’s 14th year of existence Barnes is one of 73 nominees hoping to hear their name called on December 4, 2023.

Barnes has played in 20 career games with six starts so far.  In 2023, Barnes has played in seven games with five starts and currently sits at 5-1 as the starter, leading the Utes to four victories to this point in 2023 and one Washington State in 2022.

Barnes joined the Utes as a walk-on in 2020, but it was at the 2022 Rose Bowl where he made his presence felt nearly leading Utah to a victory after starter Cam Rising exited the game with a concussion.

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Trio Of Utes Named To Post-Season Watchlists