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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Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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