SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Hunter Dimick was so eager to begin his collegiate career at No. 11 Utah that he wanted to skip a planned senior trip to Spain.
The Syracuse, Utah, native was the first football player from his high school to earn a Division I scholarship as a three-star recruit and he dreamed of playing for the Utes. He didn't want to miss a portion of summer workouts for a vacation.
''That was a very good but very long two weeks away,'' Dimick said. ''It was great. Nothing beats time with your family, but it was good to get back.''
Five years later, the senior is tied with John Frank as the school's career leader in sacks (27) after setting a school single-game record with five against Arizona State last week. His 12 sacks so far this season tie him with Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson for the most in the nation and his 17.5 tackles for loss are No. 3.
Dimick has had a roller-coaster career with soaring highs and some upsetting lows. He stood out as a redshirt sophomore in 2014 with 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss then played just seven games in 2015 due to a shoulder injury. Dimick has started every game as a senior and his five sacks last week put him into a tie for third-most in a single game in NCAA history.
Dimick credits his ''small-town mentality'' for the way he works. He pushed himself to exhaustion during the offseason and still has it in the back of his mind that he ''didn't expect to be here.''
''He's so dedicated and committed to what he's doing and his work ethic is exceptional,'' Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. ''He felt really, really bad about missing some weight workouts to go on this family trip that had been a huge trip to the family. That just exemplifies who he is. He's dedicated to the football team. He's a team-first guy. It's not all about him. He's never been that way. Whatever the team needs. He's a leader. He's a captain. What more can you say?''
Dimick is fairly low-key and is more concerned about the Utes winning the last two games and advancing to the Pac-12 championship game than the sacks record. Utah (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) hosts Oregon (3-7, 1-6) on Saturday with control of its own destiny.
But he appreciates what he's been able to do, especially after being hurt most of last season.
''I was pretty (ticked) off all of last year and still most of this year,'' Dimick said. ''You just can't make up lost time. It's always going to be one of those things you look back and it bugs you, frustrates you. But it's paid some dividends in the fact I worked a lot harder.
''You kind of realize how much you take things for granted when they get taken away from you. ... This year I didn't leave anything in the tank.''
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