Top NFL Draft prospect channels family military values ahead of bright career: ‘It shaped me into who I am’
Former Utah Utes standout Devin Lloyd went from helping lead his team to a Pac-12 title to becoming one of the top linebackers to enter the 2022 NFL Draft. Less than a week away from hearing his name called on the big stage, Lloyd remains confident in his ability to perform at the next level, wherever he ends up
Speaking to Fox News Digital ahead of the NFL Draft in Las Vegas next week, Lloyd described the pre-draft process as a “rollercoaster,” from training for the combine to Zoom meetings with different teams within just a few weeks of finishing his collegiate career.
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“It’s a whole lotta stuff that goes into it,” Lloyd said. “I’ve just been blessed, first of all, to [be in this] kind of situation because not a lot of people do, but really I’ve just been taking it day-by-day, honestly.”
Devin Lloyd (0) of the Utah Utes catches the ball for an interception against the Washington State Cougars during a game Sept. 25, 2021, at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.
(Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Lloyd, 23, is expected to go in the first round — possibly in the top 15 — and has been described as a physical and versatile player. He earned first-team Associated Press All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year accolades in his final season with the Utes and was a key factor in Utah’s 38-10 championship win over the Oregon Ducks.
“Yes, as far as the atmosphere, playing in an NFL stadium kind of helped too,” Lloyd told Fox News Digital when asked if believes playing a game on that stage helped prepare him for the NFL.
“Just being in that atmosphere, being in that level of competition, understanding what’s at stake, the competition you’re going against playing at the highest level – really just understanding all of that and being able to have the opportunity to be in that moment definitely prepares you for something like the NFL, which was recently described [to me] as the college All-Star game every week.”
(L-R) Head coach Kyle Whittingham hands the championship trophy to linebacker Devin Lloyd and wide receiver Britain Covey as they celebrate the team’s 38-10 victory over the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Conference championship game at Allegiant Stadium Dec. 3, 2021, in Las Vegas.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Lloyd expressed confidence in his ability to excel in the NFL.
“I spoke to several people, and the consensus I really get is that it essentially gets to a point where — just like how I am in college — it’ll get to that point where I have that level of comfort,” he said. “Obviously, when you first go in, everyone talks about the speed and things of that nature, but my understanding is that it really slows down depending on you individually.”
Travis Dye (26) of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against Devin Lloyd of the Utah Utes during the third quarter of the PAC-12 Football Championship at Allegiant Stadium Dec. 3, 2021, in Las Vegas.
(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
“I know I’m starting to watch a lot of film, and so I feel like obviously there’s going to be a transition coming in,” Lloyd said. “But I don’t think it’s going to be up to the level that everyone would necessarily think it’s going to take forever to transition. For me, I feel like it’s just football, and from what I heard it’s just football.”
Lloyd attributed much of his discipline and focus to his childhood growing up with parents who both served in the Navy.
“Growing up in a military household, everything is pretty much routine and scripted. Everything from waking up and making your bed – how you make your bed – just a really regimented schedule … learning about working together and just really doing things the right way, doing things with the right intentions,” Lloyd explained.
“Everything they learn at work pretty much translates in some way to life. So I definitely learned a lot.”
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Lloyd recently partnered up with USAA to talk about how his experiences being in a military family helped to shape him into the player and person he is today.
“I definitely was blessed that I got the opportunity to [do this] because of how much the military does mean to me, my family, and pretty much how it shaped me into who I am today. It had a significant impact on myself and my success,” he said.
Devin Lloyd (0) of the Utah Utes celebrates sacking Brendon Lewis of the Colorado Buffaloes during a game Nov. 26, 2021, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.
(Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
With so much attention on him as he nears next week’s draft, Lloyd pointed to the advice of one of his former coaches when asked about how he stays focused.
“Just do what I’ve been doing, honestly. Just continue to look for ways to get better every day. Our defensive coordinator would always say, ‘Find ways to add value,'” Lloyd said. “And although I don’t know where I’m playing yet, I’m still finding ways to add value based on what I’m doing whenever nobody’s watching. That’s where the military values come back. Really working when nobody’s watching and continuing to never be satisfied where you’re at. Always looking for ways to get better.”