Kyle Whittingham Gives Highest Praise To Utah LB Devin Lloyd

Dec 6, 2021, 11:42 AM
Kyle Whittingham and Devin Lloyd - Utah Utes Pac-12 Championship...
Head coach Kyle Whittingham (L) and MVP linebacker Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes celebrate the team's 38-10 victory over the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Conference championship game at Allegiant Stadium on December 3, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham gave the highest praise to star linebacker Devin Lloyd as the team prepares for the Rose Bowl.

Kyle Whittingham has coached a lot of great players on defense while at Utah and he is putting Devin Lloyd at the top of that list.

Whittingham and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day addressed the media on a teleconference call on Sunday afternoon after it was announced that the Buckeyes and Utes would square off in the Rose Bowl.

The all-time winningest head coach in Utah football history was asked about Devin Lloyd on the call.

“Devin is a special football player, he’s the best defender that’s ever come through the University of Utah, at least in the modern era,” Whittingham said. “There may have been someone in the 30s or 40s, or whatever that I don’t know about but in the modern era, he is going to be most likely and I think without a doubt the highest drafted defensive player that we’ve had.”

That really says a lot about Lloyd and his abilities on the football field. Whittingham has coached a ton of great defenders in his 17 seasons as head coach of the Utes. Coach Whittingham talked about what makes Lloyd so special.

“He is a guy that was a self made guy who came to us as a safety and a wide receiver out of high school,” said Whittingham. “We projected him at linebacker and just through sheer hard work and determination. He’s one of the top linebackers in the country. His versatility allows us to use him at the inside backer spot which is where he is most comfortable. We can also bring them off the edge, he’s done a lot of a pass rush for us in the sub packages and he’s a guy that really can do it all. He’s got the size, the strength, the speed, the agility that all the big time players have. He’s meant the world to us. Of course, he just won the MVP in the Pac-12 Championship game a couple nights ago and very well deserving of that.”

Utah’s Rich History Of Great Defensive Players

Since Kyle Whittingham has been the head coach of the Utes, the program has seen 30 draft picks from the defensive side of the ball. Here are those players that were drafted:

  • 2005: Jonathan Fanene, DE
  • 2005: Sione Po’uha, DT
  • 2006: Spencer Toone, LB
  • 2007: Eric Weddle, S
  • 2007: Paul Soliai, DT
  • 2009: Brice McCain, CB
  • 2009: Sean Smith, CB
  • 2009: Paul Kruger, DE
  • 2010: R.J. Stanford, CB
  • 2010: Stevenson Sylvester, LB
  • 2010: Robert Johnson, S
  • 2010: Koa Misi, LB
  • 2013: Joe Kruger, DE
  • 2013: Star Lotulelei, DT
  • 2014: Trevor Reilly, LB
  • 2014: Keith McGill, CB
  • 2015: Nate Orchard, DE
  • 2015: Eric Rowe, CB
  • 2017: Pita Taumoepenu, LB
  • 2017: Brian Allen, CB
  • 2017: Marcus Williams, S
  • 2018: Kylie Fitts, DE
  • 2019: Cody Barton, LB
  • 2019: Marquise Blair, S
  • 2020: John Penisini, DT
  • 2020: Bradlee Anae, DE
  • 2020: Leki Fotu, DT
  • 2020: Terrell Burgess, S
  • 2020: Julian Blackmon, S
  • 2020: Jaylon Johnson, CB

This doesn’t even account for other great players that went undrafted, including Jared Norris, Gionni Paul, Brian Blechen, Derrick Shelby, Lowell Lotulelei and many more players that I know I didn’t mention. This just goes to show how special Devin Lloyd is.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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