Devin Lloyd will lead a dominant Utah Utes defense in 2021
Photo: Joel Davidson / UteZone
Article by WestCoastCFB
1. Devin Lloyd (Utah)
Devin Lloyd passed on the NFL to return to the Utes and will look to play for another Pac-12 Title in 2021. The star Utah linebacker was a thrill to watch last season and his 48 tackles and 10 for loss were enough to earn 1st Team All-Pac-12 honors as well as 2nd Team All-America. For his career, Lloyd has 145 tackles, 21 TFL and 8.5 sacks.
2. Edefuan Ulofoshio (UW)
Ulofoshio is an absolute beast and that was demonstrated when PFF recently named Ulofoshio their top returning Linebacker in all of College Football. The former walk-on had a higher PFF grade than Lloyd last season and had the most tackles per game of any Pac-12 player. Even with that dominant play, Ulofoshio only earned 2nd Team All-Pac-12 last season. Expect the Alaska product to contend for All-America honors in 2021 and get the respect and publicity he deserves.
3. Nate Landman (Colorado)
Nate Landman has played a lot of football in the Pac-12 and it was a huge coup for the Buffs to get him back for another year. Since coming to Colorado out of Danville, California, Landman has produced 284 tackles, 36 for loss and 10 sacks. His production hasn't gone unnoticed as he has made the All-Pac-12 team twice and will look to make it a 3rd time in 2021.
4. Noah Sewell (Oregon)
Cristobal has been an amazing recruiter since becoming the Oregon Head Coach and one of his biggest gets was the talented Noah Sewell. The Orem, Utah product was a 5 star recruit and is one of the largest Inside Linebackers you will ever see in College Football. At 6-3 250, Sewell is larger than some Pac-12 Defensive Linemen, but has the athleticism to cover a ton of ground. In 2020, Sewell was named the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and was the only P5 True Freshman to lead his team in tackles. Sewell's outstanding Freshman season resulted in 45 tackles, 6.5 TFL and 2 sacks.
5. Avery Roberts (OSU)
Avery Roberts was a 4 star recruit out of high school and initially went to Nebraska where he played in 12 games during his Freshman season. Roberts then made the decision to head to Corvallis where he became one of the top Linebackers in the conference with 152 tackles, 9.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks in his career. In 2020, Roberts was a 1st Team All-Pac-12 selection
6. Caleb Johnson (UCLA)
The Bruins have arguably been the best Pac-12 program when it comes to developing Linebackers into future NFL stars and that tradition looks to continue with Caleb Johnson. The JUCO transfer started all 7 games last season at Inside Linebacker and led the Bruins in tackles and sacks, while finishing 2nd in tackles for loss. That production landed Johnson on the AP All-Pac-12 2nd Team in 2020.
7. Omar Speights (OSU)
Omar Speights was rated a 4 star recruit by Rivals in High School and chose to play for the Beavers after starring at nearby Crescent Valley High in Corvallis. As a Freshman in 2019, Speights was an instant impact player and was named a USA Today Freshman All-American. For Speights' career he has 136 tackles and 12 for loss
8. Jahad Woods (WSU)
Jahad Woods is back in 2021 and brings valuable experience to the Coug defense. The speedy linebacker has been a starter since his Redshirt Freshman season in 2017 and has amassed some eye popping numbers in that time. For his career, Woods has 319 tackles, 30 TFL and 9.5 sacks.
9. Isaac Slade-Matautia (Ore)
Playing for a loaded Oregon defense the past few years, Slade-Matautia has gone under the radar compared to some of his peers. But, don't let that lack of publicity cause you to not realize just how good he has been for the Ducks. The 6-1 Linebacker has 131 career tackles, 12 for loss and 16 passes defended.
10. Nephi Sewell (Utah)
Unlike his brother, Penei, Nephi Sewell has had a winding path to success. The former safety started 19 games at Nevada before making the decision to transfer to the Utes. But, the path still wasn't easy. Sewell walked on at Utah before eventually earning a scholarship. Then in 2020, Sewell broke out with 40 tackles and 6 for loss.