Best of the Bunch-Linebackers
Written by Curt Popejoy on 07/03/2012
The role of a linebacker, especially in a college defense is pretty varied depending on the system. In some, they are pass rush specialists, in others they are hybrid defensive backs, but no matter what you call them, the middle 3(or in some cases 4) of the defense are vital for not only run stopping, but in pass defense. It's where nearly every team's top tacklers come from, and in order to be great there must be playmakers. This year's units all contain talented playmakers in all facets of the game. And the 4 units I have picked were fairly easy selections and they stand well ahead of the rest of the country.
4. Alabama-Even after the loss of 2 high NFL draft picks last year at linebacker, the Crimson Tide will simply re-load. Senior Nico Johnson and Junior CJ Mosley will man the middle and make sure that the Alabama defense stays among the best in the country, but it's the 3 Sophomores Adrian Hubbard, Xzavier Dickson, and Trey DePriest that fans should be excited about. You can be sure that Nick Saban's complex blitz scheme will be safe with this 5 man rotation.
3. Iowa State-Probably didn't expect to see the Cyclones here did ya? Well don't sleep on this group. They sport the best Senior pair of linebackers in AJ Klein and Jake Knott patrolling the middle of the defense. These 2 guys are tackling machines, and have the MLB and WLB spots covered. SLB is a bit of a question as 2 Sophomores, CJ Morgan and Jevohn Miller duke it out to start, but rest assured both players will see the field. All around a very solid group.
2. Stanford-Injuries are never good, but in the case of Stanford when linebacker Shayne Skov hurt his knee in 2011 it allowed other players to step up. What this means for the Cardinal is they have all 4 of the 2011 starters back, Senior Chase Thomas, Juniors Jarek Lancaster and Trent Murphy, and Sophomore AJ Tarpley and once Skov is done with his 1 game suspension will become the best backup linebacker in the nation. A team that runs a 3-4 really needs a 5 man rotation and Stanford has that without a doubt.
1. Georgia- Another 3-4 team with lots of depth and talent. Another team with all 4 starters returning including Junior Jarvis Jones who's almost a first round lock. The other 3 starters, Abry Jones, Michael Gilliard, and Amarlo Herrera are very good football players, but what sets Georgia apart from a team like Stanford is the fact that if you look at their depth chart, they go 2 deep with excellent talent at all 4 spots. Not many teams can claim 8 linebackers that are starting caliber but the Bulldogs are one of them. And because of that they are the BEST OF THE BUNCH!
Last Edited: 07/03/2012