For the past two seasons, Devin Lloyd has been viewed as not only a leader on the field but as one in the locker room as well.
So when tragedy struck the Utah football program on Christmas evening, it was extremely essential that the Utah linebacker — soft spoken by nature — be there for his teammates.
As the news of star freshman running back Ty Jordan's death began to circulate throughout the team and online, it was Lloyd who emerged from the group as voice of reason. It was Lloyd who helped hold the team and program together — and of course it was Lloyd who did so while a big decision of his own was looming on the horizon.
Days before Lloyd would announce his intentions for the upcoming season — either return to Utah or declare himself for the NFL draft — he had more important business to attend too.
On Jan. 6, Jordan was laid to rest in a large ceremony at AT&T stadium in Dallas, Texas. He grew up in Texas, and after a freshman season at Utah that resulted in freshman All-American honors, established himself as one fo the next great football players from the tradition-rich state.
Beloved by his teammates and coaches, many members of the program were in attendance, even carrying him across the goal line one more time.
Three days after the ceremony, Lloyd let his intentions be known. Through a release on Twitter, Lloyd announced on Jan. 9 that he would be returning to Utah for "one last ride."
In a offseason that saw Utah get significantly better due to the NCAA Transfer Portal, the biggest victory of the offseason for head coach Kyle Whittingham came when Lloyd elected to return
With 'The General' back in the fold on defense leading what should be a great unit once again, it's no shock that the preseason awards are coming in and Lloyd is racking them up.
On Thursday, the Walter Camp Football Foundation released its preseason accolades list and Lloyd found himself named as a second-team all-American.
It's the second time Lloyd has been honored this offseason, having been named one of Bleacher Report's Top 10 Upperclassmen.
Last year, he was named a Sporting News second-team all-American and a Phil Steele honorable mention all-American. He earned all-Pac-12 first-team honors and was a Butkus Award finalist. He led Utah in tackles for the second-straight season, finishing with 48 and a team-high 10.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks
Listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Lloyd blends elite athleticism with physicality and intelligence. His ability to quickly dissect plays while chasing running backs sideline-to-sideline make him one of the premier linebackers in college football.
Utah is set to open up the 2021 season against Weber State on Thursday, Sept. 2 in front a full capacity crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Kickoff is TBD.