Utah defensive end Jonah Elliss declares for NFL draft

Utah Utes defensive end Jonah Elliss (83) celebrates a sack against UCLA in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. On Tuesday, Elliss announced he is declaring for the NFL draft.
Utah Utes defensive end Jonah Elliss (83) celebrates a sack against UCLA in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. On Tuesday, Elliss announced he is declaring for the NFL draft. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Utah defensive end Jonah Elliss has declared for the 2024 NFL draft, he announced Tuesday afternoon on social media.

“First and foremost I’d like to thank God for the gifts he has given me and for allowing me to play the sport that I love. I’d like to thank Coach (Kyle) Whittingham, Coach (Morgan) Scalley, Coach (Lewis) Powell and the rest of the coaching staff for believing in my abilities and allowing me to play at the University of Utah,” Elliss wrote.

“To my teammates, the MUSS, and our fans, thank you so much for supporting me. This experience has been life-changing and something that I will cherish forever. With that being said, I’ve decided to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft. God bless and Go Utes!”

Elliss, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury 10 games into the 2023 campaign, led Division I football in sacks per game this season. The junior averaged 1.2 sacks per contest, for a total of 12 this season. In perhaps his best performance of the year, he had 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles as Utah beat UCLA, ranked No. 22 at the time, to open Pac-12 play.

“He’s relentless. He’s got a great motor. Not the biggest guy, 6-2, 245, but he just keeps coming at you. He’s got some really good pass rush moves, great spin move and the speed rush is something that he excels in and he’s just been a tremendous player for us,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said after the win over the Bruins.

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Elliss became Utah’s 12th consensus All-American this season after being named to the FWAA, Walter Camp and Sporting News All-America first team. A player is named a consensus All-American when they are voted to at least two of the five following All-America first teams: AFCA, AP, FWAA, Sporting News and Walter Camp.

Elliss was a force for the Utes this season, registering 37 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and three pass breakups. He missed Utah’s last three games, including the Las Vegas Bowl, with the season-ending injury.

Elliss is ranked as the No. 8 edge player on Pro Football Focus’ big board and is No. 7 on ESPN’s Field Yates’ edge big board.

Elliss joins offensive guard Keaton Bills. safety Sione Vaki, safety Cole Bishop and receiver Devaughn Vele in declaring for the NFL draft this offseason with eligibility still remaining. Junior offensive tackle Sataoa Laumea has not officially announced on social media yet, but has accepted a Senior Bowl invite — usually a sign that a player is entering the NFL draft.

Utah Utes defensive end Jonah Elliss sacks California Golden Bears quarterback Fernando Mendoza on Oct. 14, 2023.
Utah Utes defensive end Jonah Elliss sacks California quarterback Fernando Mendoza (15) in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News