Local Universities Have Alumni Balling Out In NFL To Be Thankful For
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – BYU, Southern Utah, Utah, Utah State, and Weber State each have former players currently balling out while playing in the NFL and that’s something each of those universities can be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
More than 35 players from these schools now play at the “next level” and proudly represent the state of Utah and their old stomping grounds.
Here are the alums each university should be most thankful for this Thanksgiving.
BYU – Jamaal Williams (Green Bay Packers)
Jamaal Williams is a great representative of Brigham Young University. He’s not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ 0f Latter-day Saints which owns and operates BYU. He came to Provo, Utah from Rialto, California as a teenager with no real ties to the Cougars. He had his ups and downs during his time at BYU but ended up leaving as the school’s all-time leading rusher.
After getting drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the former Cougar struggled to find his place on the depth chart. Fellow 2017 Packer draftee, Aaron Jones solidified himself as the team’s starting running back while Williams battled injuries. A coaching change took place in Wisconsin this past offseason and Williams is flourishing under a new system in his third NFL season.
Williams is currently having the best season of his young career with the Packers. Through 10 games, the BYU great has over 530 yards of total offense and six touchdowns. Green Bay currently sits atop the NFC North division with an 8-3 record.
BYU can be proud of Williams’ success on the field as well as his love for the school off the field. While traveling to games this season, Williams has been photographed reppin’ the Cougs.
The BYU great spent his bye week this season back in Provo and attended the Cougar’s game against Idaho State.
The Cougars should be thankful for Jamaal Williams this Thanksgiving.
Southern Utah – LeShaun Sims (Tennessee Titans)
LeShaun Sims came to Cedar City from Las Vegas, Nevada and turned himself into an NFL cornerback. He’s now in his fourth season with the Tennessee Titans after getting drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
The former Thunderbird has played in 11 games this season including one start. He’s recorded 24 tackles and 16 solo tackles this season. He also posted a pass breakup in a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sims and the Titans are currently in second place in the AFC South division and in the hunt for a playoff spot.
LeShaun Sims is an alum that the T-Birds should be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Utah – Marcus Williams (New Orleans Saints)
Marcus Williams has been a beast for the Saints this season. The former Ontario, California native came to Salt Lake City and played in 13 games as a freshman including six starts. During his time with the Utes, Williams honed his skills and became a second draft selection by the New Orleans Saints in 2017.
Unfortunately for Williams his rookie season didn’t end on the highest of notes. The Saints finished atop the NFC South division in 2017 and were a favorite to advance in the postseason and even make the Super Bowl. During the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, Williams and the Saints faced the Minnesota Vikings. Williams played well recording 5 tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception. However, on the final play of the game, with the Saints up a point, Williams missed a tackle on Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs who ran the ball 61-yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Since then, Williams has rebounded and played great each of the past two seasons. Over the past 27 games, the former Utah defensive back has recorded 80 solo tackles, 15 pass breakups, and 6 interceptions. Earlier this season, Williams ran an interception back for his first NFL touchdown.
The Saints currently lead the division with a 9-2 record.
Williams is a great representative of the school and another great defensive product from the Utes.
Marcus Williams is a former Ute that Utah should be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Utah State – Bobby Wagner (Seattle Seahawks)
Bobby Wagner has been a monster throughout his NFL career. The former Aggie was a four-year starter during his time in Logan. He won the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award as a senior in 2011.
Wagner turned himself from an under-recruited player to a second-round selection during his time in Cache Valley. The Aggie linebacker was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks with the 47th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Earlier this season, the former Aggie became Seattle’s franchise all-time leading tackler. In his eight seasons, Wagner has posted 613 total tackles and 406 solo tackles.
In 2019, the Seahawks’ linebacker has played and started 11 games. He’s recorded 103 total tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
The Seahawks currently sit in second place in the NFC West with a 9-2 record.
Utah State should be thankful for the success story that is the Seattle linebacker, Bobby Wagner, this Thanksgiving.
Weber State – Taron Johnson (Buffalo Bills)
Taron Johnson came to Ogden, Utah from Sacramento, California after Weber State was the only college to offer him a scholarship. After his senior season in 2017, he was named the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Johnson was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The former Wildcat’s rookie season was cut short due to injury but he’s responded nicely in 2019.
The Bills cornerback has played in seven games this season including four starts. He’s recorded 17 solo tackles, 3 pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
Buffalo is currently second in the AFC East standings with an 8-3 record.
Taron Johnson is a former Wildcat that Weber State should be thankful for this Thanksgiving.