Utah LB Devin Lloyd Named To Lott Impact Trophy Watch List

Ryan Kostecka

Year in and year out, one of the things college football fans can rely on is a Utah defense that's going to be among the nation's best. This year though, that typically vaunted defense may be in trouble as the Utes must replace nine starters from last season's top-20 squad. 

But one thing the Utes have going for themselves is the return of junior linebacker Devin Lloyd, one of the top players in the Pac-12 and a consensus all-Pac-12 preseason pick.

The rest of the nation is beginning to take notice of Lloyd and his vast array of skills, as he's already been nominated to the Butkus and Wuerffel trophy watch lists. Now Lloyd can add another preseason watch list to his resume, as he's been nominated to the Lott IMPACT trophy watch list — given annually to college football's best defensive player in character and performance.

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.

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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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