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Depth Charting // The Linebackers


Weak Linebacker Middle Linebacker Strong Linebacker
Marlon Williams (39)
SR; 6-0/218
Brian Duncan (57)
JR; 6-1/240
Bront Bird (20)
JR; 6-3/240
Blake Collier (35)
JR; 6-2/212
Sam Fehoko (41)
RS SO; 5-11/220
Tyrone Sonier (45)
RS SO; 6-2/225
Dion Chidozie (23)
FR; 6-1/194
Chris Wallace (58)
SR; 5-11/199
Brandon Mahoney (19)
FR; 6-2/203

Weakside: At one point of watching Marlon Williams I wasn't too impressed, but as the season wore on last year, the more I came to appreciate the job that Williams does. That's not to say that I think he's a perfect player, but Texas Tech could do a lot worse than Williams. I know that isn't necessarily a ringing endorsement, but he's more than a serviceable player. He's not great, he's very solid. Blake Collier has struggled to find the field for the past two years as he rehabbed from a torn hamstring. If Collier can stay healthy, then I have no doubt that his superior speed and nose for the ball will pay off for Texas Tech next year. An experienced player who has speed to burn is a welcome addition to any team. Dion Chidozie is the prototypical linebacker that I can see Ruffin McNeill recruit from this point forward. Lanky with lots of speed and athleticism.

Middle: Brian Duncan is the unquestioned leader of the defense, and despite not getting enough Big 12 looks, he is an All Big 12 performer. Duncan is a model citizen and tremendous against the run. What more could you ask for from a middle linebacker? Behind Duncan is Sam Fehoko, who struggled coming out of high school because he was asked to change positions, from a rushing defensive end who was asked to just run after the quarterback at all costs, to a read-and-react middle linebacker. It's taken Fehoko two years, but I think he's finally ready to make the move. Another guy who looked pretty good in the spring game. McNeill signed James Scott in the 2009 recruiting class and I think that McNeill wanted his linebacking corp of the future. Despite the fact that Scott didn't qualify, I'm thinking that Scott makes an appearance in Lubbock after his two year stint in JUCO. I get the feeling that by sticking with Scott through this process, it's an indication that McNeill still wants this guy. From a size and speed standpoint, he's your prototypical middle linebacker. If Texas Tech gets down to Chris Wallace playing middle linebacker, the Red Raiders have big problems.

Strong: I really shouldn't be down on any player, but Bront Bird's lack of speed bothers me to no end. I know, I need to be supportive, but the truth of the matter is that Bird needs to be quicker and run up and down the sideline. Bird would have been perfect a few years ago, a big, bulky linebacker who could stop the run, but with the increase in the spread offense, Bird needs to be able to cover a lot of ground. His backup, Tyrone Sonier, is another high school defensive end converted to linebacker. I can't say that I've watched him that much, but from what I have seen of him, I do know that he can run and I think he's faster than Bird. I could very well be wrong about that, but I don't think I am. Brandon Mahoney is the commit that switched from Oklahoma to Texas Tech fairly late in the process. Whether it was a situation where OU didn't think Mahoney would qualify, I'm happy as hell that he did. Again, another prototypical linebacker. Athletic, rangy and speed to boot.