Utah running back Zack Moss has gained 929 yards after contact this season. Ute safety Julian Blackmon has missed only seven tackles, among 56 opportunities.

Pro Football Focus named them first-team All-Americans, based on film evaluations of every play, and they go beyond traditional statistics. Ute sophomore tight end Brant Kuithe and senior quarterback Tyler Huntley made the third team and junior cornerback Jaylon Johnson received an honorable mention.

Moss has rushed for 1,246 yards, while missing the equivalent of at least three games due to injury or rest. The most impressive part of Moss' performance is what he does on his own, breaking tackles and gaining additional yards. His 91-yard touchdown run at Oregon State was an extreme example, as he hit was near the line of scrimmage.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah running back Zack Moss (2) gets past Colorado cornerback Delrick Abrams Jr. (1), in the Utes 45-15 win Saturday.
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The PFF graders credited him with breaking 78 tackles on his 200 runs (39%), while one-third of his carries have gone for a first down or a touchdown. The PFF first team lists both Clemson’s Travis Etienne and Moss as the running backs.

Blackmon is PFF's highest-graded Utah defensive player this season, among several NFL prospects. He leads the team with four interceptions and his tackling has been consistent. “Blackmon's football instincts are second to none,” PFF said, noting his successful transition from cornerback as a senior.

The recognition for Kuithe and Huntley is more surprising, considering the high expectations for Moss and Blackmon coming into the season. Kuithe, who has 29 catches for 550 yards and six touchdowns, ranks behind Harrison Bryant of Florida Atlantic and Charlie Kolar of Iowa. Kuithe also has run for three scores.

Huntley, who has completed 75.5% of his passes for 2,773 yards and 16 touchdowns with two interceptions in 249 attempts, is part of PFF’s elite quarterback class. He’s listed behind LSU’s Joe Burrow and Ohio State’s Justin Fields and ahead of Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

Johnson, who intends to enter the NFL draft, is tied for third in the Pac-12 with 10 pass breakups and has seven career interceptions.

In the Pac-12 championship game, Utah’s defensive line will go against Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, a first-team All-America selection who’s “pressing for the highest grade we’ve ever given to a tackle in a single season,” PFF said.

More awards

• Kuithe was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, giving the Utes their 12th conference award in 12 games. Kuithe and Huntley, a two-time winner, are the only Utah offensive players who have been recognized. The other honorees have come from the defense and, more specifically, the defensive line.

Kuithe caught three passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns and carried the ball twice for 59 yards and a score in a 45-15 win over Colorado.

• Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley is among five finalists for the Broyles Award, given to the country’s top assistant coach. The other finalists are Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow, Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady and Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. The award will be presented Dec. 10 in Little Rock, Ark.

Scalley, 40, is in his 12th season on Utah’s staff and his fourth year as the coordinator. His group ranks No. 1 in rushing defense, No. 3 in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense. He personally coaches the safeties, with Blackmon and Terrell Burgess having been selected to the Senior Bowl.