Utah Football Must Recruit Better Linebackers Moving Forward

Oct 23, 2020, 3:17 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Just how far away is Utah Football to securing multiple four and five-star prospects at the linebacking position? One has to imagine the time is nearing.

Defensively, Utah has had its success when it comes to developing talent into formidable NFL caliber contributors. Star Lotuleilei, Eric Rowe, Nate Orchard, Marcus Williams and Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson of late.

The defensive line and secondary has dominated the headlines in regards to Utah producing NFL players. So, where are the linebackers? And why are they not developing into NFL stars?

It must be noted, Cody Barton, Chase Hansen, Jared Norris and Francis Bernard are currently on NFL rosters with Barton looking more and more like the candidate who will excel in the NFL at the position. But Utah has been dominant defensively for decades, yet, the limited number of linebackers that the program has produced continues to beg the question.

The Pitch To Future Linebackers

Young, exciting and explosive linebackers leaving high school must consider Utah as an option to succeed. Just take a look at the success true freshman Devin Lloyd had in 2019. He was free to run from sideline to sideline simply because the Utah defensive front four eats up blocks.

The presence of Utah’s defensive line alone strikes fear in opposing offenses. They continue to produce talent and are constantly found in the backfield sacking and tackling some of the most explosive athletes in college football.

Playing behind a defensive line as dominant as Utah’s makes life for everyone else on Utah’s defense easier. It is one of the biggest reasons the secondary has been as effective as it has been over the years.

When you can put pressure on opposing teams quarterbacks by only rushing four linemen, the entire defense benefits from it. You have more bodies to defend deeper down the field and can be far more aggressive with your safeties and linebackers.

It is very rare that an opposing offensive lineman gets into the secondary and attempts to block a Utah linebacker. This is because the Utah defensive line warrants opposing teams to respect them and double team some of the more explosive athletes on Utah’s defensive line.

Come to Utah if you hope to play with freedom, fly around the field and excel at the most important position on the defense.

I remember as a player, head coach Kyle Whittingham suggested that he, despite being 55 at the time, could be effective and impactful at linebacker playing behind the Utah defensive line. He may not be wrong.

It is time for the program to take the next step in solidifying itself as an annual Pac-12 threat. That next step includes improving the talent in which they are bringing into the program at linebacker.

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