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ACC Football 2014: Top 5 LBs

ACC Football 2014: Top 5 LBs

Kelby Brown Duke Football
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There is star-studded defensive talent at all positions in the ACC, especially at the linebacker. One player will be greatly missed this season and that's Duke's Kelby Brown who tore his ACL earlier this offseason. Even with him dropping out of the list, there are still plenty of players who will battle for Defensive Player of the Year.

5. Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville

Lorenzo Mauldin Louisville Football
Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports

5. Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville

Lorenzo Mauldin Louisville Football
Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports

Mauldin will be shifting his main focus from defensive end to starting linebacker this season. He is a very versatile player who you’ll see move back and forth between positions, but he’ll mainly be digging his feet in at linebacker. The speed and strength is much different in the ACC than the AAC where he comes from, but make no mistake, he will be ready for any competition thrown his way.

4. Norkeithus Otis, North Carolina

Norkeithus Otis North Carolina Football
Jeremy Brevard - USA TODAY Sports

4. Norkeithus Otis, North Carolina

Norkeithus Otis North Carolina Football
Jeremy Brevard - USA TODAY Sports

Otis is the heart and soul of the Tar Heels' defense. Last year he seemed to finally grasp the 4-2-5 defense that they implemented two years ago. He will be looking to step up his game another notch and be the leader of the defense. Their offense will put up points this season, but the team's overall success will rely on the defense and its performance.

3. Terrance Smith, Florida State

Terrance Smith Florida State Football
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3. Terrance Smith, Florida State

Terrance Smith Florida State Football
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The Florida State Seminoles have a bevy of young talented linebackers and one returning starter in Smith. He will be heavily relied upon to lead the linebackers and replace Telvin Smith as the vocal leader on the defense. Only a Junior, he has the tools to become an elite linebacker, especially in the defensive scheme they run.

2. Stephone Anthony, Clemson

Stephone Anthony Clemson Football
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2. Stephone Anthony, Clemson

Stephone Anthony Clemson Football
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He is a former five-star prospect who hadn’t lived up to his potential until last season when he registered 131 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss. Clemson has one of the best defenses in the country because of guys like Anthony. With another strong showing, he can help not only his Tigers battle FSU for the Atlantic division, but catapult himself up the NFL Draft boards as well.

1. Denzel Perryman, Miami

Denzel Perryman Miami Football
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

1. Denzel Perryman, Miami

Denzel Perryman Miami Football
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

Perryman is coming off a very strong showing last season on a defense that didn't have many bright spots. He is the best defensive player on the team and will battle guys like Vic Beasley and Jalen Ramsey for Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC. The defense will need to step it up this season if they want to compete for the ACC title and Perryman is the guy to lead the turnaround.