Jokester Sylvester all business on gameday

By By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

Every time Stevenson Sylvester flashes his pearly whites, he feels he can change someone’s day.

Sylvester, a sophomore linebacker for the U, learned how to change lives plenty of times from his mother while growing up in Las Vegas.

Angela Levi adopted Sylvester’s six cousins when they were released from their mother’s custody. Sylvester, his older brother and his younger brother suddenly found their home more crowded.

“Everybody knew what everybody was doing,” Sylvester said.

Understandably so. The ages of his nine family members range from high school sophomore to 25 years old.

Recently, Levi adopted four more children. She and the children will make the trip to Utah from Las Vegas for the Utes’ game against BYU this Saturday, even though they don’t have tickets.

Sylvester’s family frequently visits Utah to see him play. Everyone from his father to his stepfather to his grandparents has seen Sylvester play in a Utah uniform.

Levi took advantage of sports to keep her kids on the right track growing up, Sylvester said. As a youngster, he enjoyed playing baseball, football, basketball, soccer and running track.

Sylvester’s grandmother has also helped Levi keep Sylvester moving in the right direction.

“My grandmother is awesome,” Sylvester said. “When (the team) was not doing too well at the beginning of the season, she kept my head up. She said, ‘There’s always got to be a winner and a loser, and you guys were on the wrong side this time.'”

Sylvester is usually on the right side of jokes.

“He’s the one to always be laughing, yelling, doing something, even at 6 in the morning,” fellow linebacker Joe Jiannoni said.

Sylvester has obtained a reputation among his teammates as a jokester. Sylvester laughs at that notion.

“My mother always told me to just live life day by day,” Sylvester said. “Any time you can have fun, take advantage.”

Sylvester also knows how to have fun on the field. His 74 tackles and 10 tackles-for-loss both rank second on the team.

“I love defense,” Sylvester said. He spent time as a running back his freshman year of high school, but since he was slated at linebacker after trying out at cornerback and defensive end, he has yet to look back.

“I love to hit people,” he said. “I know that sounds weird, but I love to hit people.”

Sylvester has shown the ability to have fun when he can, but he can buckle down and play football when he needs to. He said that he has learned to turn himself on to different levels of intensity depending on the situation.

“(Sylvester) is laid back but takes the game of football seriously,” senior defensive end Martail Burnett said. “When you step out on the field, it’s business time, and he knows that.”

Burnett said that the two spend quite a bit of time with each other outside of football. They play Madden Football on Xbox 360, and Sylvester brags that he can beat Burnett in basketball, which Burnett said would never happen.

Maybe Sylvester was just joking.

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Tyler Cobb

Sophomore linebacker Stevenson Sylvester has 74 tackles — ten for a loss — this season