2009 Preview: Rating The Linebackers

Get all the 2009 position ratings here

First, the inside guys:

1. Brandon Spikes, Florida–An HP preseason and postseason AA in 2008, he is the Butkus favorite after collecting 93 tackles, 8 TFL and 4 interceptions last year.

2. Rolando McClain, Alabama–Built upon a big freshman year with an even bigger sophomore year.  Led the Tide with 95 tackles including 12 TFL and 8 pass deflections.

3. Pat Angerer, Iowa–Impressive in coverage, he had 5 interceptions last season while leading the Hawkeyes in tackles with 107.

4. Micah Johnson, Kentucky–The Wildcats were much improved defensively last year and Johnson is a big reason why.  He had 13 TFL and 93 tackles.

5. Joe Pawelek, Baylor–A tackling machine who can do it all.  Had 128 tackles, 7 pass breakups and 6 interceptions!

Honorable Mention: Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma; Reggie Carter, UCLA; Martez Wilson, Illinois; Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina; Greg Jones, Michigan State

Outside Linebackers

1. Navorro Bowman, Penn State–All over the field for the Nittany Lions last year, collecting 106 tackles, along with 16.5 TFL and 5 pass break ups.  The latest addition to Linebacker U.

2. Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri–Had a staggering 155 tackles last year (which led the nation), including 18.5 for losses, 7 pass breakup and 3 interceptions. 

3. Rennie Curran, Georgia–A third-team selection to last year’s HP AA team, he led Georgia with 115 tackles and 10 TFL.

4. Mark Herzich, Boston College–As productive a linebacker as you’ll see in all of college football.  Had 110 tackles, with 13 TFL, 8 pass breakups and 6 interceptions. 

5. Keenan Clayton, Oklahoma–Helped keep things together for the Sooners last year when Ryan Reynolds went down.  Had 82 tackles, including 10 TFL and 9 pass breakups. 

6. Clinton Snyder, Stanford–A tough, mouth-to-mouth tackler who had 58 tackles and 6.5 TFL last year.  Very underrated. 

7. Kavell Conner, Clemson–Led a stout Clemson defense with 125 tackles and 6 TFL.   

8. Michael Mohamed, California–The Bears’ leading returning tackler with 87, he also had 3 interceptions and 6 TFL while starting only five games in 2008.

9. Nate Irving, NC State–A budding star who had 80 tackles, 11 TFL, 5 pass breakups and 4 interceptions despite only starting nine games last year due to injury.

10. Eric Norwood, South Carolina–An all-conference outside backer who had 75 tackles, 14.5 of them for a loss last year.

Honorable Mention: Patrick Benoist, Vanderbilt; Keaton Kristick, Oregon State; Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech; Sean Spence, Miami; Eric Norwood, South Carolina; Justin Winters, Buffalo

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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One Response to 2009 Preview: Rating The Linebackers

  1. Anonymous June 29, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Tavis Lewis should be on this list. He only broke Brian Bosworth’s freshman season tackles record of 144 … tied Bosworth’s record for tackles by a freshman in a game with 19 against Texas. Guty is a STUD!