Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Look Ahead- Linebackers

This unit hasn't been a real strength for many years now, and while it could be very soon, it may be too much to ask for it to be this season. Especially since there are only three veterans, and two of them play the same position.

Junior Matt Galambos is strong and tough at 6'2" and 245 pounds, but the returning starting middle linebacker doesn't appear to have the speed needed for a Pat Narduzzi defense. His backup for most of the season, 6'2" 230 pound redshirt junior Bam Bradley does have that speed so he could be the man to beat in the middle this year. The only other veteran is 6'1" 220 pound redshirt senior Nicholas Grigsby, and he has speed to burn.

Then comes the underclassmen, many of whom are talented, but who are also very inexperienced. Reggie Green, Jamal Davis, James Folston, and Quintin Wirginis have been in the program for at least a year now, and now is the time that at least half of them have to become productive. Green, a 6'2" 230 pound redshirt sophomore, is a converted wide receiver so he has good speed and athleticism. It remains to be seen if he has linebacker skills, though. Davis, a 6'2" 220 pound redshirt freshman, has the speed and athleticism that Narduzzi loves so he could be a factor this season. Folson, a redshirt freshman, has good size at 6'3" and 235 pounds, but he's also athletic. Wirginis, a 6'2" 230 pound sophomore is the only linebacker from last year's class to letter, and especially on special teams he proved to be a playmaker. He seems to be an ideal fit at middle linebacker and could push the veterans at that spot this year.

Two wildcards are true freshmen Anthony McKee and Saleem Brightwell. McKee is only 6'2" and 200 pounds, but he can flat out fly. If he can get to 220 pounds by the time the season starts, it may be impossible to keep him from playing. The same goes for Brightwell who is currently 6'0" and 200 pounds.

Bottom line- Of these top nine contenders, only three are veterans. That's the bad news. The good news is that the younger players have a ton of potential, and that includes the players former head coach Paul Chryst brought in. Still, I expect that the new staff will bring in at least two more big time linebackers with the next class, and there's every reason to believe that very soon this group will be a major factor for years.


Talent:

Excellent
Very Good
GOOD
Average
Poor


Depth:

Excellent
Very Good
GOOD
Average
Poor

10 comments:

  1. Could Galambos play DE?

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    1. No, but someone else might. I saw Galambos & Reggie Green standing together at the Fan Fest before last season & Green dwarfed Galambos - not from a muscular/bulk standpoint, but just his natural fame. If he can fill out, he might be big enough & might have the athleticism to be a good pass rusher.

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  2. Really enjoy the analysis of each position groups thus far. I would probably grade this group at Average talent/depth but, if Potential were a category, then this group combined with the increased coaching acumen would probably be a Good to Very Good.

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  3. Hey Chris -

    Any intel on when Junior Day will be for FB? I'll be curious to see if Narduzzi can get earlier commitments than some of his predecessors. Of course, he won't have had time to build relationships for this class...

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  4. Is Caprara the kid from Woodland Hills still on the Team?

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    Replies
    1. yes, but apparently not even a threat to Galambos

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  5. The first of many recruiting reaches by Chryst.

    Most of that class committed to Fraud.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Caprara was late filler.

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  6. We seem to have bunch of athletic, mid sized linebackers. But we have few quality defensive linemen. Any chance we play a 3-4?

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  7. Brightwell and McKee both play this season.

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