Top 10 Utah Utes Linebackers Of All-Time
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – University of Utah football fans have seen some great linebackers come through the program.
Some players have made a major impact in just one or two seasons with the Utes with other have successful four-year careers in college.
Here is the top 10 (plus two honorable mention) list from the Crimson Corner of the best quarterbacks to ever play for Utah.
The criteria is based off of college career only and time with Utah. Wins, stats and impact on the team is part of the criteria as well.
HM: John Huddleston, 1973-75
Huddleston spent three seasons and played 30 games in a Utah uniform. During that time, he racked up 406 total tackles, 176 solo tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions and one forced fumble in his career.
The Charmichael, California native currently holds the record for the most total tackles in a single season with 174 in 1975. After college, Huddleston was taken in the 16th round of the 1976 draft by the Denver Broncos.
HM: Spencer Toone, 2002-05
Toone was a critical member of the linebacker group when the Utes went undefeated and busted the BCS with a win over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.
In four seasons with the Utes, Toone recorded 294 tackles, 110 solo tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 2
10. Francis Bernard, 2018-19
Bernard made a major impact with the linebackers in such a short period of time. When he transferred to Utah from BYU, his first season in 2018 was served as the backup to Chase Hansen and Cody Barton.
In 2019, Bernard shined as he finished his short stint with Utah by recording 123 tackles, 69 solo tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions and one forced fumble in 24 games played. Bernard also had a pick-six against his former team in the season opener of the 2019 season.
Bernard was named first team All-Pac-12.
9. Sheldon Deckart, 1999-02
The St. George, Utah native spent three seasons with the Utes out of Dixie High School.
Deckart racked up 240 tackles, 122 solo tackles, an impressive 26.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 40 games played.
8. Kautai Olevao, 1995, 1998-00
Olevao played one season for the Utes in 1995 before returning to finish his college eligibility from 1998-00.
In 40 games played for Utah, Olevao picked up 240 total tackles, 112 solo tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 4 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.
7. Mark Blosch, 1981-84
Salt Lake City, Utah native and West High School star Mark Blosch had an outstanding career at Utah. He currently holds the school record for most total tackles in a career with 495. Blosch also holds the record for most assisted tackles in a single season with 146 in 1982 and the most assisted tackles in a career with 333.
His other career stats include 162 solo tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles in 41 games.
6. Garland Harris, 1986-89
Harris was a human tackling machine in college at the University of Utah. In 41 games during his career from 1986-89, Harris racked up 324 total tackles, 203 solo tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, one interception and forced 3 fumbles.
5. Jared Norris, 2012-15
Norris was a part of Utah’s transition into the Pac-12. He was apart of that great defense in 2015 that had many great playmakers on that side of the football.
From 2012-15, Norris appeared in 34 games and finished his career with 269 total tackles, 149 solo tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was also named second team All-Pac-12 as a senior.
Norris had a stint in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent.
4. Cody Barton, 2015-18
Barton really showed improvement and progress throughout his time at Utah where he ultimately shined as a senior alongside Chase Hansen in the nickel package.
The Brighton High School product was named Pac-12 honorable mention as a senior. Through his four-year college career, Barton finished with 235 total tackles, 132 solo tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and 3 fumble recoveries in 39 games played.
Barton was taken in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
3. Chase Hansen, 2015-18
Hansen made the move from quarterback to safety to linebacker where he was the starting LB in his senior season, the only season of his college career at that position. The 2018 season was when Hansen made the biggest splash at Utah.
Just during the 2018 season at linebacker, Hansen recorded 114 total tackles, 70 solo tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 interceptions, one fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown against Northern Illinois. Hansen appeared in 43 games during his time at Utah at three different positions.
After his senior season, Hansen was named an All-American and first team All-Pac-12.
2. Stevenson Sylvester, 2006-09
Standout linebacker Stevenson Sylvester was a crucial member of the 2008 Utah team that went undefeated and knocked off Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
During his four year career, Sylvester played in 49 games. The second team All-Mountain West selection racked up 262 total tackles, 120 solo tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 defensive touchdowns.
Sylvester was taken in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
1. Gionni Paul, 2014-15
Paul joined the Utes after transferring from the University of Miami. He made a huge impact in a short amount of time. The Winter Haven, Florida native played in just 21 games at Utah in two seasons. In 2015, Paul was named first team All-Pac-12 but was robbed of the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
In his short stint at Utah, Paul recorded 178 total tackles, 90 solo tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 8 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown.
Here is the full breakdown of the list on the Crimson Corner podcast.