Yesterday, we took a look at our defensive linemen: Brandon Jenkins, William Gholston and Jesse Williams. Today we continue with our Rant Sports Preseason All American Team with our three linebackers. We looked far and wide to find the best of the best at the linebacker position. In a 3-3-5 defense, you need backers who can not only play the run, but get after the quarterback as well. I think we got three good ones.
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame: One of top linebackers in the country, came back for his senior year after rumors had swirled around that he wanted to leave early. Te’o is a playmaker, who in 2011 recorded 128 tackles, 62 of those being solo. He is always around the football. Te’o also had five sacks on the year. One of my favorite players in college football, a guy who works hard during practice, then carries that effort to the field on Saturdays. It will be great watching him during his senior year in South Bend.
Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia: Jones burst into the spotlight in 2011 after a 2010 redshirt year. He led the Southeastern Conference in sacks with13.5 and at times was just unblockable. Jones could have made the jump to the NFL, but decided on coming back to Georgia for his junior season, focused on winning an SEC crown.
Dion Bailey, LB, University of Southern California: Maybe the wild card in this group of three because unless you’re a Trojan fan, you probably do not even know the name. Bailey plays exactly how I like my linebackers to play, fast and furious. Bailey is 6’0″, 215 pounds and actually moved to linebacker from safety. He tied for the team lead in tackles with 81, and combined that with two sacks, two deflections, two interceptions and a forced fumble. That tells me, he’s around the ball and he’s making plays.
This is our Rant Sports Preseason All American Linebackers, three really solid players, who can do a little bit of everything. Tomorrow we will take a look at our defensive backs.