Nephi Sewell enjoyed breakout season after moving to linebacker from safety. Here’s how he did it

Utah linebacker Nephi Sewell, right, gets in some work during spring drills at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Sewell, the brother of former Oregon great and future NFL first-rounder Penei Sewell, began his career as a safety before making the switch to linebacker. | University of Utah Athletics

At linebacker, Utah boasts veteran stars like juniors Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell as well as highly touted freshmen like Trey Reynolds and Mason Tufaga

Entering his third season as Utah’s linebackers coach, Colton Swan manages one of the strengths of the Ute defense.

At linebacker, Utah boasts veteran stars like juniors Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell, as well as highly touted freshmen like Trey Reynolds and Mason Tufaga. Another promising freshman linebacker, Cole Bishop, has been moved to safety.

Sewell, whose brother, Penei, was an offensive lineman at Oregon and is expected to be a top-10 pick in the NFL draft later this month, enjoyed a breakout season last year after switching from safety to linebacker.

“He’s not the biggest man in stature but he does pack a powerful punch. He is physical. Probably his best attribute is just how he can find ways to get to the football. He has an unbelievable knack for the football.” — Colton Swan on Nephi Sewell

“He’s a phenomenal individual. He has an uncanny ability to get to the football. It’s something like I’ve never seen,” Swan said of Nephi Sewell. “He really, really understands offense; he really, really understands defense. He puts himself in great positions to make plays. He’s very productive. He’s not the biggest man in stature but he does pack a powerful punch. He is physical. Probably his best attribute is just how he can find ways to get to the football. He has an unbelievable knack for the football.”

Asked about his performance last season, Sewell said, “I have to give credit to our D-linemen. They take on a lot of blocks for me and Devin to come clean. Shout out to coach Swan for coaching me throughout the COVID season. I got the move to linebacker and I’m glad that I have such a good coach and also thanks for (defensive coordinator Morgan) Scalley for scheming to put us in the right place each week.”

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University of Utah Athletics
Utah linebacker Nephi Sewell looks on during spring camp at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Lloyd, a 2020 Butkus Award finalist, could have declared for the NFL draft but he opted instead to come back for one more season of college football.

“It was Christmas morning right there, wasn’t it? My reaction was, pretty excited,” Swan said about learning about Lloyd’s return to the program. “As everybody knows, he’s a phenomenal player, a phenomenal young man. What a blessing. Very excited to have him back, the opportunity to work with him for one more year, perfecting his craft.”

Meanwhile, Reynolds and Tufaga are coming along …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

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