Previous Position Rankings:
- Team rankings: Quarterbacks
- Team rankings: Running backs
- Team rankings: Wide receivers
- Team rankings: Offensive lines
- Team rankings: Defensive lines
- Team rankings: Linebackers
- Team rankings: Defensive backs
- Ranking 10 best SEC LBs
- SEC’s most dominant linebacking duos
Up next in SDS position rankings are the linebackers, one of the strongest positions in the entire conference for 2013. But which team has the best linebacking corps?
Drum roll, please…
Alabama is the deepest and most talented linebacking corps in college football. CJ Mosley, Adrian Hubbard, Trey DePriest and Xzavier Dickson are just four who will contribute. But Denzel Devall, Jonathan Allen, Reggie Ragland, Rueben Foster and Ryan Anderson are five more who could also see playing time. This position group has everything Nick Saban needs to help lead his team to another championship.
The battle for No. 2
2. Ole Miss
Five teams look to battle for No. 2 on this list in 2013. Ole Miss leads the way with Denzel Nkemdiche, Mike Marry, DT Shackelford and Serderius Bryant, and these are just four of the names you need to know about. Nkemdiche and Marry form the SEC’s No. 2 tandem behind Mosley and Hubbard…LSU loses Kevin Minter, but they return Lamin Barrow and Tahj Jones. DJ Welter will replace Minter, and up-and-comers Kwon Alexander, Deion Jones, Lamar Louis and Ronnie Feist make this group so talented…Tennessee has a chance to become the SEC’s No. 2 group with AJ Johnson, Curt Maggitt and senior Dontavis Sapp. Brent Brewer moved from safety to linebacker, and while the Vols may not have much depth, they have talent and experience in a new scheme…Florida replaces Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins, and moving Antonio Morrison to MLB to replace Bostic will be an upgrade. Michael Taylor is a veteran, and freshmen Alex Anzalone and Daniel McMillian could be breakout players. Veterans Darrin Kitchens and Neiron Ball will add solid depth…Georgia returns one starter in Amarlo Herrera, but they must replace two major talents in Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree. Jordan Jenkins could be better than Jones, and Ramik Wilson and Chase Vasser will round out the starting four. Depth players James DeLoach, Reggie Carter and Ryne Rankin could all see playing time.
Better than advertised
8. Mississippi State
For Vanderbilt, the name you need to know about is Chase Garnham, who racked up 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2012. And another name is hybrid Karl Butler. Sophomore Darreon Herring has shown some flashes, and Larry Franklin and Jake Sealand are two who will see extended playing time in 2013…Mississippi State may have the best linebacker you’ve never heard of in Benardrick McKinney. He flew onto the scene last year as a freshman, making 102 tackles, and his partner in crime Deontae Skinner returns his 62 tackles, too. Ferlando Bohana is a big talent, and Matt Wells has the coaching staff excited. These four will help create a solid linebacking corps for MSU… Kentucky returns top tackler Avery Williamson and up-and-comer Khalid Henderson. But watch out for Miles Simpson, Kory Brown and Malcolm McDuffen. The trio of Williamson, Henderson and Simpson should give Kentucky a better-than-advertised position group.
10. Texas A&M
Texas A&M must replace two starters in Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart, but they return senior Steven Jenkins. JUCO transfer Tommy Sanders should be a strong No. 2 linebacker, and junior Donnie Baggs will start at MLB. Brett Wade and Reggie Chevis were both early enrollees, and they will see time in 2013…Missouri returns their top linebacker in Andrew Wilson, who’s made 23 career starts and racked up 79 tackles last year. Darvin Ruise, Kentrell Brothers and Donovan Bonner all have to step up their game, but watch out for Michael Scherer and Donavin Newsome.
Auburn and Arkansas both have new defensive coordinators to help their linebacking corps. Auburn’s features returner Jake Holland, but a slew of other talented players is in the works. Cassanova Mckinzy, Justin Garrett and Kris Frost are three others to keep an eye on. Garrett can be a big-time talent at the Star, and Frost has so much potential, too. Also, watch out for JaViere Mitchell…Arkansas returns sophomores AJ Turner and Otha Peters and Myke Tavarres. But JUCO transfer Martrell Spaight should make a big impact in ‘13. Jarrett Lake and Brooks Ellis are two others who should impact the rotation. This group must improve from an average 2012 showing.
14. South Carolina
South Carolina’s linebackers may be good, but we just don’t know about them yet. The Gamecocks lost their top four linebackers, but they should be more athletic in 2013. Cedrick Cooper, Kaiwan Lewis, Jordan Diggs, Kelvin Rainey, Sharrod Golightly and TJ Holloman will all contribute, with the main Spur job between Diggs and Golightly. Cooper and Lewis should both be starters this season.