CU Buffs’ Nate Landman earns All-Pac-12 honor

Linebacker is first Buff to earn first- or second-team all-conference honors four times

BOULDER, CO - Oct. 15, 2021:University ...
University of Colorado, Boulder’s Nate Landman stops Arizona’s Jalen John during the NCAA football game on October 16, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Colorado’s Nate Landman has done something no other football player in school history has done before.

On Tuesday, the Pac-12 announced its postseason awards, as voted on by coaches, and Landman earned second-team all-conference honors.

A senior inside linebacker, Landman is the first player in CU history to earn first- or second-team all-conference honors four times in his career. Several players had done it three times, most recently kicker Mason Crosby (2004-06).

Landman was the only player to earn first or second-team honors for the Buffaloes (4-8, 3-6 Pac-12) on Tuesday.

Eight CU players received honorable mention: Receiver Daniel Arias (for all-purpose/special teams); defensive backs Mekhi Blackmon and Christian Gonzalez; running back Jarek Broussard; offensive lineman Kary Kutsch; defensive lineman Jalen Sami; punter Josh Watts; and outside linebacker Carson Wells.

The Associated Press All-Pac-12 team, voted on by media, will be announced later this week.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – NOVEMBER 26: Kyle Whittingham head coach of the Utah Utes talks with Karl Dorrell head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes before their game on November 26, 2021, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. Whittingham was named the Pac-12 coach of the year on Tuesday. Dorrell earned that honor in 2020. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

In the coaches’ vote, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham was voted Pac-12 coach of the year, while Utes’ linebacker Devin Lloyd was the defensive player of the year. Southern California receiver Drake London was named the offensive player of the year.

Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura was the offensive freshman of the year, while Utah’s Junior Tafuna was the defensive freshman of the year.

Landman was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, before a shoulder surgery sidelined him for the final five games. Highly regarded as one of the best defenders in the conference, Landman was still honored by the coaches despite playing in only seven games. He recorded 71 tackles and six tackles for loss.

Landman was voted first-team All-Pac-12 by coaches and media in 2019 and 2020. In 2018, he received honorable mention from the coaches and second-team from media.

For the second year in a row, Wells finished top two in the conference in tackles for loss, but has only received honorable mention both years. After leading the conference with 16 tackles for loss last season, Wells was second with 14.5 this year. He also had 62 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 17 quarterback pressures and an interception return for a touchdown.

Arias led the Buffs in special teams points for the third consecutive season, while also adding 18 catches for 228 yards on a touchdown on offense.

Blackmon had 50 tackles, five pass breakups and an interception in nine games, while Gonzalez had 54 tackles, five tackles for loss and six pass breakups in 12 games.

Broussard, the Pac-12 offensive player of the year in 2020, led the Buffs with 661 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also had 13 catches for 81 yards.

Kutsch was a 12-game starter and played all but 29 of the 698 offensive snaps. He was CU’s highest-graded lineman and led the Buffs with eight touchdown blocks. According to CU, he allowed just 1.5 sacks and four QB pressures.

Sami finished the season with 30 tackles, five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

Watts finished the season with a 47.79-yard average on punts, the third-best average in CU history. He had 24 punts of 50-plus yards.

Gonzalez received honorable mention for defensive freshman of the year, while receiver Brenden Rice received honorable mention for offensive freshman of the year.