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Positional Reviews and Previews: Linebacker

This is series of positional reviews, which entail a look back and a look forward at each position for the Red Raiders. We'll try and take a look at who is gone, who remains and who we can look forward to playing in the not so distant future.

Season Review and Preview: Linebackers

Who Is Leaving: Paul Williams, Kellen Tillman, Chad Hill and Ty Linder are seniors and have no more eligibility. Obviously, Williams had the most productive career of the linebackers graduating. The only statistics available for Tillman on the NCAA's official statistics page are for 2007. This was Tillman's 6th year of eligibility (due to injuries). Hill started the year at weakside linebacker, but was replaced by Marlon Williams early in the season. Linder, did not play much at Texas Tech, participating in only 5 games for his career.

Let's take a look at their work:

  • Paul Williams, #48
    Year Tackles Sacks TFL
    2007 71 0 7.5
    2006 30 1.5 2
    2005 17 0 1
    2004 0 0 0

  • Kellen Tillman, #56
    Year Tackles Sacks TFL
    2007 29 1 1

  • Chad Hill, #54
    Year Tackles Sacks TFL
    2007 13 1 1
    2006 13 0 0
    2005 3 0 0
    2004 0 0 0

  • Ty Linder, #59
    Year Tackles Sacks TFL
    2007 0 0 0
    2006 1 0 1
    2005 1 0 0
    2004 0 0 0

Again, Ryan Hale has not graduated, but he is making a position move to David Schaffer's position of fullback/tight end.

God Speed, gentlemen.

Who Returns: This is an interesting group, and I tend to get the feeling that Fehoko, Bird and Sonier are really going to be pushing the starters for time. I have high hopes for this group. Let's look at the players.

Player Ht/Wt Year Games Played Tackles Sacks TFL
Marlon Williams, #39 6-0/211 Jr. 13 81 0 1
Brian Duncan, #57 6-1/239 So. 13 69 0 4
Victor Hunter, #52 5-11/256 Jr. 13 28 0 4.5
Bront Bird, #45 6-3/222 So. 8 16 0 1
Blake Collier, #35 6-2/212 Jr. 10 11 1 2
Julius Howard, #13 6-1/233 So. 4 0 0 0
Sam Fehoko, #41 5-11/224 RS Fr. 0 - - -
Tyrone Sonier, #45 6-2/215 RS Fr. 0 - - -
Jack Campbell,#51 6-0/225 So. 0 - - -
Chris Wallace, #58 5-11/217 Jr. 0 - - -

I'm going to divide this group into Starters and Backups:

  • Starters: I really believe that Williams, Duncan and Hunter were pretty good last year. At the very least, I think it can be said that the linebacking group is getting better as a whole. Perhaps not a giant leap of improvement, but I think this group is getting better. That being said, I think there is a ton of room for improvement for this group as well. I don't think that we need to review the sometimes pitiful rush defense that this unit is partly responsible. Let's look at who the starters might be:
    • Marlon Williams - Surely he starts and seems to be the vocal leader on the defense. I like what Williams brings to the table. I think he's fine.
    • Brian Duncan - Another guy that I think adds quite a bit of athleticism to a unit.
    • Victor Hunter - I like the size at middle linebacker, but I worry about the ability of Hunter to get up and down the sideline.

  • Backups: I really like quite a few players here and am very anxious to see how they perform on the field.
  • Bront Bird - Clearly Bird is going to a guy who pushes those three linebackers above. I like Bird's athleticism and ability to make plays. Couple that with Bird's playmaking ability and you've got a pretty nice player.
  • Blake Collier - I just don't get why they moved him to linebacker. I think that at some point last year I was probably in favor of moving Collier to linebacker because he had so much speed, but he's really lacking in the size category and wonder if he's big enought shed necessary blockers. Collier has too much athleticism not to be on the field, but he may be a man without a position.
  • Julius Howard - I don't know much about Howard except that he has the height, weight and 40 time to be a great addition to the linebacker corp.
  • Sam Fehoko - The coaches raved about Fehoko's play during the Thursday night scrimages. We kept seeing quotes about how he has a nose for the ball and just makes plays. Fehoko was an outstanding defensive end in Hawaii and he made a ton of plays his senior season. I can't wait to see him on the field.
  • Tyrone Sonier - I don't recall reading too much about Sonier in those Thursday night games, but like Fehoko he played defensive end in high school. Again, I can't wait to see him play.
  • Jack Campbell and Chris Wallace - I have no idea.

Who Is Going To Be Here:

Player Ht/Wt Position
Brandon Reid 6-2/208 LB?

Reid was recruited at running back, but it's pretty clear that Reid should expect to be moved to linebacker in the very near future. Reid has good size and speed to be a very productive linebacker and I'd even go so far to say that he might be the most atheltic linebacker currently at Texas Tech. How about them apples?

Depth Chart: Keep in mind that any depth chart does include current commitments and there may be additional commitments that could change everything. In other words, we're all just guessing.

One other note. I tend to think that this linebacker position will be the most difficult to predict because I think McNeill is going to play the best players, regardless of seniority. Let the guessing begin:

Year Starter Backup Backup
2008 Marlon Williams, Jr. Bront Bird, So. Tyrone Sonier, RS Fr.
Brian Duncan, So. Sam Fehoko, RS Fr. Julius Howard, So.
Victor Hunter, Jr. Blake Colllier, Jr. Brandon Reid, RS
2009 Marlon Williams, Sr. Bront Bird, Jr. Tyrone Sonier, So.
Brian Duncan, Jr. Sam Fehoko, So. Julius Howard, Jr.
Victor Hunter, Sr. Blake Colllier, Sr. Brandon Reid, RS Fr.
2010 Bron Bird, Sr. Tyrone Sonier, Jr.
Brian Duncan, Sr. Julius Howard, Sr.
Sam Fehoko, Jr. Brandon Reid, RS Fr.

Prior Positional Reviews and Previews: