It’s special. I didn’t expect any of this. I’m just kind of taking it as it is and trying to enjoy the moment and trying to enjoy these things as they come in. —Matt Gay
SALT LAKE CITY — Matt Gay made history this season as Utah’s first Lou Groza Award winner. He also became the seventh player in program history to earn consensus All-America recognition.
The accolades, though, were news to the junior kicker.
“This is going to sound ridiculous, but going into the season I didn’t know what the Lou Groza was,” Gay said. “I didn’t know much about football.”
Although Gay did know about All-America teams and stuff like that, he wasn’t aware of what consensus status meant. Gay earned such recognition by making the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America and Sporting News first teams — as well as second-team honors from the AFCA and Walter Camp.
“That means a lot,” said Gay, who joins Luther Elliss (1994), Jordan Gross (2002), Eric Weddle (2006), Louie Sakoda (2008), Tom Hackett (2014, 2015) and Mitch Wishnowsky (2016) as Utah’s consensus All-Americans.
“It’s special. I didn’t expect any of this,” Gay said. “I’m just kind of taking it as it is and trying to enjoy the moment and trying to enjoy these things as they come in.”
YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE: Senior receiver Darren Carrington II, who leads the Utes with 66 receptions, said it’s great that starting quarterback Tyler Huntley is expected to return from an undisclosed injury to play in the bowl game.
“It’s going to be good to see him back out there because I know how excited he is to play again,” Carrington II said. “With him being so young, it’s just cool to see his excitement.”
NOT NOW: Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, who also oversees the safeties, didn’t really want to discuss the future of junior Chase Hansen at this time. Hansen may be considering early entry into the NFL Draft.
“We don’t talk about that right now,” Scalley said before offering some insight. “He’s going to do what’s best for him and if he moves on, awesome — great for him. If he stays, awesome. We’re excited to have him.”
EXTRA POINTS: Utah is the designated visiting team in the Heart of Dallas Bowl and will wear white in the game . . . Scalley noted that the Utes have showed a lot of energy, focus and concentration in practice . . . Defensive end Kylie Fitts and Carrington II have accepted invitations to play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on Jan. 27.
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Utah (6-6) vs. West Virginia (7-5)
Tuesday, Dec. 26, 11:30 a.m. (MT)
Radio: ESPN 700AM