Each summer over the past eight years, the Deseret News has created a master list of Utah ties in the NFL during the offseason. This year, there are 89 Utah ties on an NFL roster just a few weeks before teams head to training camps near the end of July.

How does the number of Utah ties on NFL rosters in 2021 stack up to past seasons?

The 89 Utah ties currently in the NFL is significantly higher than the past three seasons — there were 74 last season, 76 in 2019 and 79 in 2018.

The 2017 offseason set the standard in recent years, when there were 90 local players on NFL rosters around this time, paced by a strong contingent of 35 rookies. Earlier this offseason, there were 90 Utah ties on NFL rosters, before former South Sevier High’s Alani Pututau was released by Atlanta.

In 2016, there were 75 Utah ties on rosters during the summer, with 70 in 2015 and 66 in 2014.

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This year’s crop of 89 local players includes 16 rookies, with eight draft picks and eight undrafted free agents.

Here’s a breakdown of those 89 players (note: they can count towards multiple categories):

  • 29 who played at the University of Utah (down from 30 last year)
  • 26 who played at BYU (up from 12 last year)
  • 14 who played at Utah State (down from 15 last year)
  • 4 who played at Weber State (equal to 4 last year)
  • 4 who played at Snow College (equal to 4 last year)
  • 1 who played at Southern Utah (down from 2 last year)
  • 42 who played football at Utah high schools (up from 30 last year)
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So, why is there such an increase of Utah ties this year?

Three main reasons contribute to the sizable jump of Utah ties in the NFL:

  1. BYU went from 12 players in the NFL in the 2020 offseason to 26 this year. There are 13 Cougars who will be rookies in 2021 — if they make it to an opening day roster — headlined by quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall selection by the New York Jets in the 2021 NFL draft.
  2. The number of Utah high school players in the NFL saw an increase of 40% from last year to this year. In addition to Wilson, who went to Corner Canyon High, former Desert Hills High’s offensive tackle Penei Sewell was a first-round draft pick — he went No. 7 overall to the Detroit Lions — and there were seven total Utah high schoolers taken in this year’s draft. There are a total of 10 Utah high school rookies overall.
  3. The University of Utah, yet again, leads the way among state representatives, and the number of Utes only went down one even though longtime quarterback Alex Smith retired and no Utah rookies were drafted — thanks in large part to COVID-19 impacting the past year. Even so, the Utes have had 21 players drafted in the past five years and 18 of them are still in the league.

Here’s a look at each Utah tie in the NFL, listed by school in alphabetical order:

San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) in action against the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. | Jennifer Stewart, Associated Press

BYU players in the NFL

NamePos.NFLUtah high school (if applicable)
Zayne AndersonSKansas City ChiefsStansbury
Matt BushmanTELas Vegas RaidersN/A
Brady ChristensenOTCarolina PanthersBountiful
Michael DavisCBLos Angeles ChargersN/A
Zac DaweDEAtlanta FalconsPleasant Grove
Chandon HerringOLTennessee TitansN/A
Taysom HillQBNew Orleans SaintsN/A
Tristen HogeOGNew York JetsN/A
Bronson KaufusiTEGreen Bay PackersTimpview
Corbin KaufusiOLSan Francisco 49ersTimpview
Isaiah KaufusiLBIndianapolis ColtsBrighton
Dayan LakeCBLos Angeles RamsNorthridge
Harvey LangiLBNew England PatriotsBingham
Dax MilneWRWashington Football TeamBingham
Kai Nacua SSan Francisco 49ersN/A
Micah Simon WRCarolina PanthersN/A
Daniel SorensenSKansas City ChiefsN/A
Sione TakitakiLBCleveland BrownsN/A
Khyiris TongaDTChicago BearsGranger
Kyle Van NoyLBNew England PatriotsN/A
Fred WarnerLBSan Francisco 49ersN/A
Troy WarnerSLos Angeles RamsN/A
Chris WilcoxCBTampa Bay BuccaneersN/A
Jamaal WilliamsRBDetroit LionsN/A
Ty'Son WilliamsRBBaltimore RavensN/A
Zach WilsonQBNew York JetsCorner Canyon
Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) warms up before an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Denver. | Jack Dempsey, Associated Press

Utah players in the NFL

NamePos.NFLUtah high school (if applicable)Utah junior college (if applicable)
Brian AllenCBCleveland BrownsN/AN/A
Bradlee AnaeDEDallas CowboysN/AN/A
Cody BartonLBSeattle SeahawksBrightonN/A
Jackson BartonOTNew York GiantsBrightonN/A
Francis BernardLBDallas CowboysHerrimanN/A
Julian BlackmonFSIndianapolis ColtsLaytonN/A
Marquise Blair SSeattle SeahawksN/AN/A
Garett BollesOTDenver BroncosWestlakeSnow
Devontae BookerRBNew York GiantsN/AN/A
Terrell BurgessSLos Angeles RamsN/AN/A
Kylie FittsOLBArizona CardinalsN/AN/A
Leki FotuDTArizona CardinalsHerrimanN/A
Matt GayKLos Angeles RamsOremN/A
Javelin GuidryDBNew York JetsN/AN/A
Chase HansenLBNew Orleans SaintsLone PeakN/A
Tyler HuntleyQBBaltimore RavensN/AN/A
Jaylon JohnsonCBChicago BearsN/AN/A
Star LotuleleiDTBuffalo BillsBinghamSnow
Zack MossRBBuffalo BillsN/AN/A
Jared NorrisLBWashington Football TeamN/AN/A
Tim PatrickWRDenver BroncosN/AN/A
Darrin PauloOLDetroit LionsN/AN/A
John PenisiniDLDetroit LionsWest JordanSnow
Eric RoweCB/SMiami DolphinsN/AN/A
Pita TaumoepenuLBDenver BroncosTimpviewN/A
Sam TeviOTIndianapolis ColtsN/AN/A
Hunter ThedfordTEDetroit LionsN/AN/A
Marcus WilliamsFSNew Orleans SaintsN/AN/A
Mitch WishnowskyPSan Francisco 49ersN/AN/A
Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner stands on the field between drills during NFL football practice Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Renton, Wash. | Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

Utah State players in the NFL

NamePos.NFLUtah high school (if applicable)
Jalen DavisCBCincinnati BengalsN/A
Dominik EberleKLas Vegas RaidersN/A
Kyler FackrellLBLos Angeles ChargersN/A
Tipa GaleaiDEGreen Bay PackersN/A
Tyler LarsenCWashington Football TeamJordan
Nevin LawsonCBLas Vegas Raiders N/A
Dallin LeavittSLas Vegas RaidersN/A
Jordan LoveQBGreen Bay PackersN/A
JoJo NatsonWR/Ret.Cleveland BrownsN/A
Dax RaymondTEPittsburgh SteelersTimpview
Patrick ScalesLSChicago Bears Weber
Darwin ThompsonRBKansas City ChiefsN/A
Nick VigilLBMinnesota VikingsFremont
Bobby WagnerMLBSeattle SeahawksN/A
Buffalo Bills cornerback Taron Johnson (24) runs back an interception for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Baltimore Ravens Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. | John Munson, Associated Press

Other Utah college players in the NFL

NamePos.NFLCollegeUtah high school (if applicable)
Miles KillebrewSPittsburgh SteelersSouthern UtahN/A
Taron JohnsonCBBuffalo BillsWeber StateN/A
Sua OpetaOGPhiladelphia EaglesWeber StateStansbury
Andrew VollertTEIndianapolis ColtsWeber StateN/A
Jonah WilliamsDELos Angeles RamsWeber StateN/A
Detroit Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell runs a drill during NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich., Thursday, June 3, 2021. | Paul Sancya, Associated Press

Other Utah high school players in the NFL

NamePos.NFLUtah high schoolUtah junior college (if applicable)
Branden BowenOTArizona CardinalsCorner CanyonN/A
Jordan DeveyOLBuffalo BillsAmerican ForkSnow
Kaden EllissLBNew Orleans SaintsJudge MemorialN/A
Simi FehokoWRDallas CowboysBrighton N/A
Alohi GilmanSLos Angeles ChargersOremN/A
Porter GustinDECleveland BrownsSalem HillsN/A
Andre JamesOTLas Vegas RaidersHerrimanN/A
Marcus KempWRKansas City ChiefsLaytonN/A
Bryan MoneDTSeattle SeahawksHighlandN/A
Dalton SchultzTEDallas CowboysBinghamN/A
Penei SewellOTDetroit LionsDesert HillsN/A
Xavier Su'a-FiloOTCincinnati BengalsTimpviewN/A
Noah TogiaiTEIndianapolis ColtsHunterN/A
Jay TufeleDTJacksonville JaguarsBinghamN/A
John UrsuaWRSeattle SeahawksCedar/WestlakeN/A