Trevor Reilly said he had dreams of playing in the NFL some day while growing up.
Utah’s defensive end, who will play his last collegiate game Saturday, could be one of the few to see those dreams realized.
Reilly, projected to be a second-round draft pick by NFLdraftscout.com, has the makings of being yet another quality pro player produced by the Utes, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Whittingham envisions Reilly, who leads the team with 86 tackles, continuing to play a hybrid position.
"That’s what suits him best and is how we have used him in that capacity," Whittingham said. "We’ve had several guys like Koa Misi [Miami] and Paul Kruger [Cleveland] that have done that and flourished in the NFL. He is a lot like those guys."
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Reilly said he hasn’t given much thought to a pro career and is focusing on the Colorado game.
"I’d like to go out on top with a win," he said. "You dream about playing in the pros as a kid, but a lot of people dream about being millionaires and it doesn’t happen. But I’ve been blessed with height and can run. It’s a meat market, but a lot of times if you can meet their measurements, they will take you."
Whittingham is one to say he never uses injuries as an excuse for performances, but he did this week when he was asked during the Pac-12 teleconference if the Utes failed to handle the success of beating Stanford properly, leading to Utah’s five-game losing streak.
Whittingham disagreed with the notion, instead blaming the hand injury to quarterback Travis Wilson.
"There is something to be said for not losing your quarterback the next week," he said. "That is what that is all about. It took away our momentum. We had a big win against Stanford, the quarterback hurts his hand the next week and we got into a slide and were never able to recover."
The losing streak is the longest of Whittingham’s career and the longest since the Utes lost six in a row in 2002.
Tickets still are available for Saturday’s game. ... Saturday’s game marks the 60th meeting between the teams, but it is just the third time the teams have met since 1962. ... Utah’s 19 seniors will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony. Whittingham said all the seniors are on track to graduate by May. "We’re very proud of that," he said. "That is the main reason they are here, to make a future for themselves, and they have all taken care of business."
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