Published July 31, 2012 - 1:00pm
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SDS is getting into the Olympic spirit, and the ceremonies carry us just about right into the start of football season. We will be handing out SEC Podium Awards for the top three players at each position. Next up are the linebackers.
Along with having some of the fastest mauling defensive linemen in the SEC, we also have linebackers who run like running backs. Several linebackers could have made the list, but the following three stood out the most. These three bring a combination of speed, size and physical hits that rattle ball carriers’ tooth fillings.
Gold: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Georgia native originally suited up for the USC Trojans, but he transferred back home after a serious neck injury that could have kept him sidelined for his career. But we are all glad that didn’t happen, because Jones is the best linebacker in the SEC. His combination of speed, size and edge rushing ability would have made Jones a premier pick in this year’s NFL Draft, but he elected to return to Athens to finish some business. Jones led the SEC in tackles last year with 13.5, along with racking up a league-leading 19.5 tackles for loss. This kid can do it all, but he excels in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense as an edge rusher, where he can use his speed to live in the opponents’ backfield. You have to account for Jones on every play because he’s a game changer.
Silver: Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
SEC fans are going to be really impressed with Sean Porter from TAMU. Porter is a perfect fit to be an All-SEC linebacker because of his size (6-2, 230lbs), but his speed and closing ability are just as good. This kid is a fearless pass rusher, much like Jarvis Jones. Porter racked up 79 tackles but had a team-high and Big 12 leading 9.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. He reminds every Aggies fan of former TAMU and current Denver edge rusher Von Miller. Entering his senior year, Porter will lead the defense on the field into the new 4-3 offense brought by coordinator Mark Snyder. Snyder’s use of Porter in the new scheme will be interesting to watch. Porter will command respect as the new guy in a league of great linebackers.
Bronze: Jon Bostic, MLB, Florida
This was a tough call for the final spot on the linebacker Podium Awards. This could have gone to a number of players, including CJ Mosley and Nico Johnson from Alabama, but I’m going with Jon Bostic from Florida. He is the heart and soul of the Gators’ defense as a senior. Bostic led all Gators in tackles last year with 94, but as the season progressed, he became increasingly more comfortable with his role in Will Muschamp’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has called Bostic an ‘everyday NFL linebacker’. He’ll have his chance to prove those lofty expectations this season.
Previous Podium Awards:
Previous Podium Awards: