Utah coach Kyle Whittingham called linebacker Devin Lloyd “the best defender that’s ever come through the University of Utah, at least in the modern era.”

He certainly has a case, especially with his 2021 season.

Lloyd is a consensus All-American, being named to the first team of four of the five official All-America selectors — the Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Lloyd just missed out on unanimous All-American honors — being named to the first team of all five official All-America selectors — because the American Football Coaches Association placed him on the second team.

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

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean and Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal were named to the AFCA’s All-America first team. Anderson Jr. and Dean secured their unanimous All-America status, while it was the first first-team selection out of the five official selectors for Chenal.

Lloyd, Georgia’s Quay Walker and Oklahoma State’s Malcom Rodriguez were the linebackers named to the second team.

Is Devin Lloyd best defender in modern era of Utah football? His coach sure thinks so

Lloyd would have been the fourth Utes player to be named an unanimous All-American — joining kicker Louie Sakoda (2008), punter Tom Hackett (2015) and punter Mitch Wishnowsky (2016) — and the first Utes defender to receive the honor.

He is the fourth Utes defender to be named a consensus All-American, joining defensive linemen Luther Elliss (1994) and Bradlee Anae (2019) and safety Eric Weddle (2006).

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker’s decision to forgo the NFL draft after the 2020 season and return for a final year has paid off — literally and figuratively.

Lloyd led Utah to a Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl appearance and helped his draft stock in the process.

Lloyd has moved up draft boards all season with his play and is now projected by NFL draft experts to be the first or second linebacker off the board in the 2022 draft.

“Devin Lloyd is going to be a terrific pro player and he’s got a bright future,” Whittingham said.

With 107 tackles, seven sacks, four interceptions and a forced fumble, Lloyd has had an excellent season.

The consensus All-America selection adds to Lloyd’s list of accolades this season. He was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and was the Pac-12 championship game MVP.