How a second-team All-American honor cost Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd a shot at Utah history

Lloyd becomes the eighth different Ute since 2002 to receive the honor of being a consensus All-American

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd (0) intercepts a pass for a touchdown as the Utes play the Oregon Ducks for the 2021 Pac12 Football Championship title at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Dec 3, 2021.

University of Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd received a second-team All-America citation from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) on Thursday morning.

That’s an honor for any player in college football.

In Lloyd’s case, however, it has cost him a shot at Utah football history.

Since 2009, the NCAA has recognized the All-America teams as determined by the Associated Press, the Walter Camp Foundation, the Football Writers Association of American, The Sporting News, and the AFCA when determining unanimous All-Americans. Any player receiving first-team designations from all five organizations is considered a unanimous All-American. At least three first-team nods out of the five means a player is a consensus All-American. Lloyd was named a first-team All-American by the other four in the days leading up to Thursday.

A first-team AFCA selection would have made Lloyd the first unanimous All-American on offense or defense for the Utes. As a second-team selection, however, Lloyd goes down as the eighth different Ute to be a consensus All-American since 2002.

“That says that there’s one group out there that doesn’t evaluate as well as the others, I guess,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said Wednesday afternoon. “I can’t even fathom that he is not a first-team All-American in everybody’s eyes, but everyone has their own opinion, and I guess that was that entity’s own opinion.

“You move on. Devin Lloyd is going to be a terrific pro player and he’s got a bright future, so even though that’s a little bit of a disappoint, that won’t faze him.”

Lloyd is the eighth Ute to earn consensus All-American status since 2002. He joins:

• Jordan Gross (OL, 2002)

• Eric Weddle (S, 2006)

• Louie Sakoda (PK, 2008)

• Tom Hackett (P, 2014, 2015)

• Mitch Wishnowsky (P, 2016)

• Matt Gay (PK, 2017)

• Bradlee Anae (DE, 2019).

A projected first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Lloyd has received first-team All-America citations from seven different organizations this fall, giving him nine for his career.

Entering the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day against Ohio State (3 p.m., ESPN), Lloyd leads Utah with 106 total tackles, including 22 for a loss and eight sacks. The 106 total tackles rank Lloyd second in the Pac-12, while the 22 tackles for a loss are good for No. 2 in the FBS.

Lloyd also has four interceptions, two of which went for touchdowns, including a 34-yard return in the Pac-12 championship game vs. Oregon. Lloyd was named MVP of the title game, and later picked up the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award.