Utah LB Devin Lloyd continues to rack up preseason accolades

Ryan Kostecka

If the preseason accolades weren't a sign already for that sort of season Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd can expect, maybe being named to multiple preseason award watch lists will start to turn the doubters into believers.

More than just a talent on the field, Lloyd has become a vital member of the Utah community in Salt Lake City and beyond. He was recently named to the Wuerffel trophy award watch list, college football’s premier award for community service.

The Wuerffel Trophy, named after 1996 Heisman trophy winner and former University of Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel, is presented annually in each February in Fort Walton Beach. The award was created in order to honor college football players who serve others and to celebrate their positive impacts to inspire greater service in the world.

Lloyd, who checks in at a sturdy 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, is expected to take on a massive role this season as the leader of the defense.

Nine starters are gone from last season, including Lloyd's running mate Francis Bernard and the entire starting secondary. But there is still reason for optimism on Utah's defense, which has been one of the best in the nation over the past decade, and that's in large part due to what Lloyd brings to the table.

He's an athletic specimen who plays with a nasty streak. He's not afraid to mix it up and can run sideline to sideline, being arguably the fastest linebacker in the conference last season next to Oregon's Troy Dye.

Lloyd also excels in pass coverage, as he's strong and fast enough to run with tight ends while being able to track down ball carriers in the backfield. He plays with good instincts and fills holes solidly, continuously paying downhill. He needs to get better at shedding blocks and recognizing plays as they develop, but the potential is there for him to be Utah's next great linebacker.

Last season as a sophomore, Lloyd broke out in a big way when he was named to the all-Pac-12 honorable mention team after racking up a team-high 91 tackles for one of the best defenses in the nation.

He started all 14 games at rover linebacker, adding 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss, both of which ranked second on the Utes and within the top-10 in the conference.

Out of Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, Calif and prior to last season, Lloyd appeared in all 14 games as a redshirt freshman. Although he did see action in all of the games during the season, they all came on special teams as he only appeared in three games on defense.

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