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KABrother's 2015 Football Preview - Linebackers


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Next up on our positional preview is the most experienced group going into 2015...the Linebackers



* represents player was a starter at the end of 2014.


** represents player was 2nd team at the end of 2014.


Letter in ( ) represents what eligibility player will/would have had starting the season with "E" being exhausted eligibility.


Who We Lost:

Anthony Beard* (Sr)

Kevin Gunnells (Sr)

Melbrodrick Matthews (So)


Who We Return:

Mike Hargis* (Sr)

Ronnie Jones* (Sr)

Logan Moss* (Sr)

Matt Johnson (Jr)

Zach Johnson** (Jr)

Eddie McGill** (Jr)

Kade Burman** (So)

Cole Carleton (So)

Shawn Jones** (So)

Matt Tillett (So)

Reggie Long (R-Fr)


Who We Added:

Cameron Hampton (R-Fr)

Bear Christianson (Fr)

Dedrick Garner (Fr)

Marcus Odell (Fr)

Kevin O'Neill (Fr)


What We Know:

Plenty of upperclass production returning including a combined 34 starts in 2014 between Ronnie Jones, Mike Hargis, & Logan Moss. In fact, the only 2 games without these 3 starting together were the 2 games Moss was out early on. Anthony Beard has decided to forgo his 6th year he was granted by the NCAA. He is really the only player who got meaningful snaps that needs to be replaced. Cameron Hampton came in the spring and challenged Mike Hargis at the Sam spot and has received high marks from the staff.


What To Watch For:

Replacing Anthony Beard's production will be the key to the LB unit. Beard was 3rd on the team with 81 tackles while leading the team with 12 TFL. Shawn Jones is a guy I look for to make a name for himself this year potentially filling that void. Eddie McGill is another name to keep in mind at this spot. Mike Hargis also provides the versatility to play inside or outside potentially making it easier to get the best 4 guys on the field together. The freshman could be pivotal in the special teams units this season. Dedrick Garner could end up spinning down to DE (played a 3-4 DE in HS) in the future depending on what the Strength & Conditioning program does for him.


What To Expect:

This should be the most steady group of the 2015 team having returned so much production and experience from last year. I'm hopeful to see the OLBs be able to create a little more pressure and a get few more sacks than last year. Ronnie Jones Jr. led the LB group with 5 sacks last year from his ILB position and the OLBs only combined for 5.5 on the season.


My Week 1 Prediction:


1 - Mike Hargis

2 - Cameron Hampton


1 - Ronnie Jones

2 - Eddie McGill


1 - Shawn Jones

2 - Reggie Long


1 - Logan Moss

2 - Zach Johnson





Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Line

Defensive Line

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I'll say it again KABro, thanks for the work you do on the previews. I agree that the experience at linebacker is a strength of the team and I hope that they step up and, like you said, provide more pressure on opposing QBs. Linebackers are the heart and soul of a 3-4 and it you've got playmakers the defense can really go. Where you need the biggest impact is at the WILL spot because that is the side that gets to rush the passer the most. If you are correct about Logan and Johnson I hope one of them is a flat out beast this season. In a perfect world we would get 10-15 sacks out of the WILL position and it would go a long to way to help get the Cardinals to the post season.
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I'll be honest and say I did most of the preview research before fall camp even started. There has been quite a bit of roster activity that wasn't captured in my earlier previews so some of that info was a little off.


Back to the LB group though. I think Tebo plugging the middle (and if he really is up to 330) will be huge for the ILBs. In the 3-4, your NT has to demand double teams in order for it to be effective. You also need your DEs to hold the edge to allow the OLBs to get upfield. If either of these don't happen, then the 3-4 can become a liability more than an asset. In other words, in a 3-4 you have to have an effective DL to make for effective LBs.

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When he was removed from the roster I had assumed he would be going to Blinn where his twin brother was at. Just took a look at their roster and neither one is on there. Former QB Robert Mitchell is though. I too thought his signing could help break through at PAM but him leaving probably doesn't do that any favors...although we get get former Titan Trenton Swinton who transferred after 1 year at the Naval Academy.
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