Kyle Whittingham ‘Elated’ To See Utah Standouts Playing In Rose Bowl Game

Dec 31, 2021, 1:43 PM
Kyle Whittingham - Rose Bowl Press Conference...
(Photo courtesy of the Rose Bowl Game)
(Photo courtesy of the Rose Bowl Game)

LOS ANGELES – With many Utah football players skipping their senior year and declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft, head coach Kyle Whittingham is excited to see them play in the Rose Bowl Game.

Utah Star linebacker Devin Lloyd, offensive lineman Nick Ford, running back T.J. Pledger, linebacker Nephi Sewell, defensive end Mika Tafua and tight end Cole Fotheringham will not play for the Utes during the 2022 season but all will play in the Rose Bowl Game on Saturday.

“We’re elated that they’re playing,” Whittingham said during the Rose Bowl Game Press Conference on Friday morning. “Devin is a first round pick, maybe a top ten pick, and for him to want to finish with his teammates and see it through and complete the season, I think that’s awesome. Nick is also a draft choice potential. So to have them both with us is a big positive. It would be great to see them have
success here in their last game down here on their home turf.”

That can’t be said for Ohio State as five players opted out of the Rose Bowl Game to begin preparing for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Those standouts include wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, and defensive tackle Haskell Garrett.

Players opt out of bowl games simply to prevent any potential injury as the draft process begins in the next couple of weeks. Lloyd, Tafua and others on the Utah side are taking that risk but want to be a part of history as the Utes will play in their first ever Rose Bowl Game on Saturday.

No. 11 Utah and No. 6 Ohio State will kickoff at 3 p.m. MT on January 1, 2022 on ESPN.

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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