Spanning the last 25 years, Saturday Down South has looked at the quality and volume of each SEC program’s NFL Draft picks at the linebacker position to determine which school deserves the title of Linebacker U.

‘The U’ Series

Which SEC team deserves the title of Linebacker U?

3. Florida: (17 Total Draft Picks: Godfrey Myles, Huey Richardson, Ephesians Bartley, Dexter Daniels, Johnny Rutledge, Mike Peterson, Eugene McCaslin, Andra Davis, Michael Nattiel, Channing Crowder, Jeremy Mincey, Brandon Siler, Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, Jelani Jenkins, Jon Bostic, Ronald Powell) — Spikes was a two consensus All-American and All-SEC player and holds the school-record with four interception returns for touchdowns … Crowder started nine games as a true freshman at Florida in 2003, the most-ever for a first-year player at the position … Davis enjoyed a 10-year NFL career, registering 790 tackles and nine interceptions.

Noteworthy totals in Gainesville

  • Spikes: 307 career tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, 6 INT
  • Davis: 232 career tackles

2. Georgia (17 Total Draft Picks, Notables: Richard Tardits, Mo Lewis, Whit Marshall, Randall Godfrey, Brandon Tolbert, Orantes Grant, Kendrell Bell, Will Witherspoon, Tony Gilbert, Boss Bailey, Odell Thurman, David Pollack, Rennie Curran, Akeem Dent, Justin Houston, Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones) — Boss Bailey. Jarvis Jones. Rennie Curran. Georgia consistently produces top-level All-SEC linebacker talent between the hedges … Pollack was the most decorated linebacker during this span, a three-time All-American and 2004 winner Bednarik, Lott and Lombardi awards … After leaving Athens, Carolina Panthers third-round pick Witherspoon accumulated nearly 1,000 tackles as a pro, playing for five different teams over a 12-year stretch.

Noteworthy totals in Athens

  • Bailey: Blocked three kicks, tallied 114 tackles and six sacks during 2002 season
  • Pollack: School-record 36 career sacks
  • Jones: Recorded 14.5 sacks, 85 tackles (including 24.5 tackles for loss) during 2012 season

1. Alabama (15 Total Draft picks: George Bethune, Derrick Thomas, Derrick Oden, Antonio London, Lemanski Hall, Dwayne Rudd, Saleem Rasheed, Derrick Pope, Cornelius Wortham, DeMeco Ryans, Rolando McClain, Courtney Upshaw, Dont’a Hightower, Nico Johnson, C.J. Mosley) — Alabama’s had two fewer draft picks at the position since 1989, but the Crimson Tide’s NFL impact has been substantial … Selected fourth overall in 1989, Thomas is one the Crimson Tide’s most decorated players in program history and holds several franchise records for the Kansas City Chiefs and a single-game NFL record with seven sacks … The nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker had 126.5 career sacks in the NFL and was voted to the Hall of Fame in 2009 — nine years after his untimely death … Upshaw, a two-time BCS champion and the 2012 MVP of the national title game, won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 … A unanimous All-American selection in 2009, McClain also won the Butkus award, joining Thomas as the only Alabama defenders in school history to achieve the honor … An eight-year active NFL vet, Ryans was named the league’s rookie of the year in 2006 a season after winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year in Tuscaloosa.

Noteworthy totals in Tuscaloosa

  • Thomas: 52 career sacks
  • Mosley: 319 career tackles
  • Hightower: 230 career tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss
  • Upshaw: 140 career tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks