NFL locals photo gallery: Young Aggies shine, Utes score touchdowns and Van Noy makes debut

By Brandon Judd, Deseret News

Published: Sun, Aug. 10, 2014, 2:05 p.m. MDT

 San Diego Chargers running back Kerwynn Williams (Utah State), center, says a prayer after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in San Diego.

San Diego Chargers running back Kerwynn Williams (Utah State), center, says a prayer after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in San Diego.

(Jae C. Hong, AP)

From Aggies to Utes to Cougars, it was a memorable first week of NFL preseason play for several pro players connected to the state of Utah.

A total of 21 rookies with Utah ties are currently on rosters around the league, and three Utah State first-year defenders put up the best stat lines this week.

Linebacker Jake Doughty, now in Green Bay, had five tackles and a fumble recovery in the Packers' 20-16 loss to Tennessee. Cornerback Nevin Lawson, playing for Detroit, tied for second on the team with four tackles and added a special teams tackle in a 13-12 win over Cleveland. Linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu, with the Oakland Raiders, had five tackles to go along with an assisted special teams tackle in a 10-6 loss to Minnesota.

Veterans had strong outings as well, as a pair of former Utes found the end zone this weekend. Minnesota running back Matt Asiata started for the Vikings and carried the ball three times for 13 yards and a touchdown; he also had a reception for two yards. Kansas City cornerback Sean Smith intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown in the Chiefs' 41-39 win over Cincinnati; he also had a pass deflection.

Former Aggie cornerback Jarrett Bush, a longtime Packer, led the Green Bay defense with eight tackles, one sack and a quarterback hurry.

One of the most anticipated rookie debuts was that of former Cougar linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who took the field for Detroit against the Browns.

“I was happy to be out there on the field. It’s a dream come true tonight," Van Noy told reporters. He finished the game with a pass deflection and just missed on a pair of tackles for loss against much-hyped Cleveland rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.

"I’m really blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the Detroit Lions organization, as well as being around great guys. I have great teammates, and to have them cheer you on and to earn their respect is just awesome.”

Another rookie from BYU, Daniel Sorensen, earned the start at strong safety for Kansas City against the Bengals with Eric Berry being held out of the game. The undrafted free-agent signee had one tackle. Sixteen players with Utah ties started for their respective teams.

One of most memorable moments for Utah ties came from a pair of second-year athletes playing for the San Diego Chargers. Late in the third quarter against Dallas, quarterback Brad Sorensen of Southern Utah handed off to former Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams for a 1-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing kickoff, Williams made the special-teams tackle.

Sorensen completed 5-of-7 passes for 48 yards in San Diego's 27-7 victory over the Cowboys while Williams had six carries for 10 yards.

Click through the photos at the top of the story for images of locals during the first week of the NFL preseason, including last Sunday's Hall of Fame Game.

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

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1. Mike Johnson
Stafford, VA,
Aug. 10, 2014

Best wishes to all these athletes.

I am sure the many SUU fans were pleased that Sorenson did well in his NFL debut and the fact that he combined with a former Aggie was undoubtedly pleasing to them as well. That a USU fan would considered there would be animosity between USU and SUU, is curious. I would think SUU fans would love it when SUU is mentioned along with an instate FBS school.

2. Riverton Cougar
Riverton, UT,
Aug. 11, 2014

"Quite sad that USU fans think so little of their program the best they can do is brag they are better than SUU."

USU has been ranked higher than Utah for about 3 or 4 straight years. You should be grateful that the U is better than SUU.

3. Wiscougarfan
River Falls, WI,
Aug. 11, 2014

RE: Chris B.

"There are a couple SUU and USU fans that like to talk up their programs as if they mattered. Neither of them are relevant nor have they been at any time in the last several decade. I think since none of them have anything to brag about they have developed this weird rivalry..."

Actually, both SUU and USU have overachieved in recent years and deserve props for doing so. SUU has a QB in the NFL... that still blows my mind. And USU has a legitimate case for being the top Utah football program over the last five years. Congrats to them for turning around the program and getting to where they are now.

4. RSL*
Why, AZ,
Aug. 11, 2014

SUU and USU are over achievers. I think Chris is disappointed that more USU players are getting drafted in the NFL than the Utes in the last few years. I thought the PAC 12 was suppose to help recruiting.

5. Brio
Alpine, UT,
Aug. 11, 2014

It appears that Chris B's comment was once again so irrelevant and negative that it was taken down. That should tell you something, Chris.

It doesn't diminish the Ute program if any of their fans pull for and supports other players and teams from around the state. You should try it. It's not an all or nothing type of thing.

Try to show some support for fans and teams from other programs and you will then increase the odds of their fans showing support for you and your team. As it currently is, your negative and haughty attitude makes it much more difficult for them (us) to do so. It has cost you a lot of credibility in the past.

Personally, I totally enjoy it whenever any team from the state of Utah and/or any of their former players does well on the national level... such as in the NFL. It makes me proud of all the good programs we currently have in our state and with the future looking to get even better.