Former Utah LB Stevenson Sylvester Says He Was ‘Built To Be A Ute’
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah and NFL linebacker great Stevenson Sylvester said that he was built to be a Ute, which led to a successful college and professional career.
Sylvester played for the Utes from 2006-09 where he was named second team All-Mountain West and was a big part of Utah’s upset win over Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl that capped off their second undefeated season in school history.
“I felt like I was built to be a Ute,” Sylvester told KSL Sports. “I had an amazing time at Utah which is why I moved back here because I love the city, I love the university, the coaching staff – everybody from coach Whittingham to coach Rudy to the secretaries to the whole front office is why we always have chances for success.”
Sylvester told his story about his legendary career at the University of Utah on the Crimson Corner podcast.
How He Arrived At Utah
Sylvester was recruited to Utah by two coaches who are now head coaches at schools in the state in BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and Utah State’s Gary Andersen.
“I didn’t think I would be able to play Division I,” Sylvester said. “Kalani (Sitake) and Gary (Andersen) who were my defensive coaches came to watch me play when Utah was playing UNLV. They came and scouted me and said ‘this guy has it,’ so they offered me a scholarship, I got here and they said that I had a chance to start as a true freshman. That was all of the incentive that I needed. I knew that I had to take this seriously.”
Sylvester was a part of a defense that have a lot of talented players. As a true freshman in 2006, he knew he had to bring his A game.
“I went into training camp and we had some talented guys like Eric Weddle, Martail Burnett, Sean Harper, Brice McCain, Steve Tate, Casey Evans, all of these veteran guys,” Sylvester mentioned. “I knew I had to make sure that I hold my own. I just went out there and had fun. Just knowing how dedicated this program is and how serious they are about winning. They made it home for me. This was definitely the place that I wanted to be because they embraced everything that I embraced as a human being.”
It wasn’t long after the 2006 season started that Sylvester was inserted as a starter at linebacker, that was the beginning of a successful career for the Las Vegas native.
Now as he looks back on his time at Utah and seeing where the program is today, Sylvester said that the program is always contending for championships.
“Year in and year out, we lose great seniors, we bring in new talent but you still get result where we are always in competition to win whatever title in whatever we are in,” Sylvester stated. “Whether it’s the Mountain West Championship to now the Pac-12 Championship, we are always in contention simply because we have a great foundation. My time at Utah was something where I know where home is.”
Making Utah His Home
After Sylvester’s career in the NFL, he decided to move back to Salt Lake City to start his life after football.
“You take all of the intangibles and when you have time in the NFL and you are done and are trying to find home, you re-analyze everything,” Sylvester stated. “What was in my head was whatever future I wanted, I wanted in Utah. I can definitely get home to my family in Las Vegas easily, my family can visit me. I can get back to the east coast where I was playing (in the NFL) at the time. It just made so much sense.”
Ever since he moved to Utah – and even before his NFL career was over – Sylvester has made a positive impact on the community.