Despite not making our top 10 list, linebacker Justin Medlock was another freshman who not only impressed the coaches from day one, but also improved his stock during spring camp and demonstrated a promising future at Utah.
A former commit to the University of Miami, Medlock noticed something bigger and better in Salt Lake City. While Miami is certainly a respectable program with plenty of flash, the Utes have proven themselves to be a program on the rise and are creating a pipeline to the NFL.
“Just when I did take my official out here to Utah, I just fell in love with it instantly. I was committed to Miami but I came out here and saw the culture, the standard that coach Whitt, coach Scalley, coach Swan hold their defense to. So I just fell in love with it, I felt at home,” Medlock explained.
“I just felt like I didn’t want to go to college for all the glitz and the glamor. Ultimately I wanted to go to the league so I wanted to go somewhere I was going to be developed, I was going to be coached hard and I was going to get better. I feel like this place is the perfect place for that,” Medlock continued.
While standing six feet tall, Medlock is a highly talented defender and appeared to be college ready. In addition to adequate size and athleticism, what makes Medlock truly special is his nose for the football and ability to make the right reads in order to put himself in the best spot to make a play. Combined with his vicious physicality at the line of scrimmage, ability to effectively shed blockers and willingness to pursue ball carriers, Medlock acclimated quickly to the college level during camp.
"Their [Justin Medlock and Lander Barton] knowledge of football, right, they’re willing to compete, they're very savvy players now they’re in 14 practices they’re picking up on scheme and all the little nuances of technique and things of that nature and they’re learning at a very fast rate. Are they there right now? No, they’re not. But I’m happy and really pleased with their progress," Linebackers coach Colton Swan said.
"We still have a lot of work to do. But guys are really starting to show up, Jaylon Glover, Lander Barton, Justin Medlock—the younger guys are starting to make their presence known," Head coach Kyle Whittingham added.
As for the spring game, Medlock demonstrated that just like the rest of his class, he has no fear. Finishing with three tackles, Medlock recorded some solid reps which led to a few stops and showed he can compete at this level.
So while it may be some time before Medlock gets starting reps, he certainly had an impressive first spring camp and demonstrated a promising future. With his skill-set, vicious physicality and ability to quickly develop, Medlock very well could be a staple of the defense in the future.
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