Utah’s Nate Orchard was announced Wednesday as the winner of the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end, beating out an impressive cast of finalists from higher-profile programs.
Orchard averaged an FBS-high 1.46 sacks per game for the Utes, totaling 17.5 for a Utah pass rush that led the nation in the category (52). The senior is considered among the top pass-rushing prospects for the 2015 List at 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, he is considered a likely linebacker at the next lever ran than defensive end. Orchard made 81 tackles, 20 for losses, and forced two fumbles this season.
Other finalists for the award included USC star junior Leonard Williams, Ohio State sophomore Joey Bosa, Clemson senior Vic Beasley, Washington senior Hau’oli Kikaha and Missouri junior Shane Ray.
Past winners include Jackson Jeffcoat of Texas, Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina, LaMarr Woodley of Michigan and Terrell Suggs of Arizona State.