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Stepping into week five of the 2022 season, Utah's defense is leaps and bounds ahead of where they were against Florida. In addition to three straight victories, the Utes have outscored their opponents 142-27, only allowing three total touchdowns. While the defense as a whole has significantly stepped up their game, linebacker Karene Reid is leading the charge.

"The guy is distinctive, tough, student of the game. Much more athletic than you think. He can run, change direction and always a good position. Between him and our true freshman Lander Barton, those two are holding it down in the inside linebacker spot...those two guys have done outstanding," Kyle Whittingham said about Reid following the Arizona State matchup.

Through four games, Reid is currently second on the team in total stops with 23, 11 of which are solo and include three tackles for loss. Additionally, Reid is also tied for first with an interception and two pass break-ups, demonstrating his versatility and field vision.

So what makes Reid so great? Just like Whittingham said, he's got incredible instincts and reads the field at a high level. Over the last two games he's been one of the teams leading tacklers, and finished with a team-high 10 against Arizona State. Wherever the play is developing, whether it's on the ground or through the air, Reid is usually nearby.

Against San Diego State, Reid's instincts and playmaking abilities were on full display as he intercepted Aztecs QB Kyle Crum with elite athleticism. After recognizing how the play was developing, Karene read the eyes of the QB, anticipated the target and easily picked him off.

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"I was responsible for the running back and he stayed in to block, so I was just scanning the field, matched up the receivers with who the quarterback was starring down and took my shot," Reid said in the latest episode of his exclusive podcast.

So while guys like Cole Bishop, Van Fillinger and Junior Tafuna might be making some of the more obvious plays on the defense, do not sleep on Reid. Not only is he one of the teams leading tacklers, but he's often calling out plays, communicating with the rest of the defense and is easily one of the smartest guys on the roster. 

Don't believe me? Go ahead and watch No. 21 a little bit closer these next few weeks. You'll like what you see.

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