Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was effusive in his praise of Utah safety Cole Bishop after Saturday night’s 34-13 win over Arizona State.

Bishop made plays all over the field — intercepting a pass from ASU’s Emory Jones, sacking Jones in the ASU backfield, breaking up another pass. He finished with three tackles as the Utes bludgeoned the Sun Devils at the line of scrimmage.

“He’s an absolute phenom at safety,” Whittingham said after the game. “He’s everything you look for, so athletic in coverage, great blitzer and tackler. He’s the whole package. He’s got size at 6-2, 225 pounds. So, you’re seeing one of the best safeties in the Pac-12 and one of the best in the country in Cole Bishop.”

Through four weeks, Bishop and teammate RJ Hubert have formed quite the tandem in the Utah secondary. Bishop has been a terror when unleashed as a pass-rusher, recording six quarterback pressures in 12 snaps as a pass-rusher. Hubert is one of the highest-graded Pac-12 safeties in coverage, per Pro Football Focus.

Bishop was a player Utah liked all throughout the offseason and leading into the new year. The defense thought it could be just as good as it was a season ago, if not better, and Bishop’s development surely factored into that confidence.

He leads the defense in tackles (27) through the first four games. He also has 2.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and an interception.