In this installment of the state's best position groups by the Dallas Morning News bloggers, they rank the linebackers. We will track these rankings and give you our thoughts on Tech's ranking in each group. We might throw in a few other thoughts that are non-Tech related.
Here are their rankings:
3) TEXAS TECH
4) Texas A&M
8) Texas State
11) North Texas
Here's what DMN blogger Tommy Magelssen had to say about Tech's LB position:
It's as if someone hit a reset button for the Red Raider linebacker group. Not only did Texas Tech lose all four of its starters — via either graduation or a position switch -- but the Red Raiders will run a new scheme under a new defensive coordinator (David Gibbs). Leading the change will be senior Micah Awe (pictured above going for the tackle), who has 140 career tackles coming off the bench. He's one of Tech's hardest working defenders, and his efforts will finally be rewarded with a starting job. Joining him likely will be sophomore Mike Mitchell, a former blue-chip recruit out of Plano Prestonwood who transferred from Ohio State, and senior Sam Atoe, who steps into strong-side role after only one year with the program. Pete Robertson was converted to defensive rush end, and he likely will take his hand off the ground during some downs. The sky's the limit for this group, but early games against run-heavy Arkansas and UTEP will provide a ferocious test.
I am really surprised...shocked actually. I think this is more of an indictment on the other Texas teams' linebacking core than it is praise of Tech. Scanning through the other teams' reviews, most teams are replacing a lot at linebacker. While I think this Tech LB group will be the biggest surprise of the 2015 season with how improved they will be this season, I didn't expect them to be ranked this high. Awe hasn't been a regular starter but he shined in the spring game and received very good reviews for his spring performance from both Gibbs and Kingsbury. Mitchell still has a lot to prove, having not played in a game in over two year. Atoe is a JUCO guy who played sparingly last season. There are a lot of expectations for Dakota Allen to play well, but he is unproven as well. So there is talent in this group, but they just have to fulfill it.
1) I thought it was interesting to see Texas A&M, TCU and Tech all receive a high of a 1st place vote and low of a 5th place vote. That tells you how much opinions differ on this particular position group.
2) I think Malik Jefferson will be a starter for Texas by mid-season if not sooner. I also think he will be a huge thorn in Tech's side in his time at Texas. He is a ridiculous mix of size and speed.
3) Linebackers will be the weakest spot for the TCU defense, but if we know anything about Patterson it will be that is defense will always be good. I would expect that no matter who is plugged at the two linebacker spots, they perform well.
The next DMN position group ranking will be the secondaries released on Monday.