2007 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings ... LBs

Posted Aug 9, 2007

CFN 2007 Preview Unit Rankings - Linebacker Ranked 1 to 119

2007 CFN Unit Rankings


CFN 2007 Unit Rankings
2007 Preview | Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs
Receivers | Offensive Lines | Defenses | Defensive Lines
Secondaries | Special Teams

1. USC
Over the years, a ton of great linebackers have done their apprenticeship at USC, but this group has a chance to be the best ever.  Three NFL-ready players at their respective positions, Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga, and Brian Cushing, will control game after game. The backup trio of Kaluka Maiava, Thomas Williams and Clay Matthews could start at about 90 other places.

The receiving corps might be the strength of the Longhorn offense, but the linebackers are the strength of the team. The possible second teamers, whoever they might become, will all get big looks in NFL camps and could start almost anywhere else in the Big 12. This group will dominate at times in the more aggressive defensive system. an the coaching staff find the right rotation? Sure, it's complaining about the Porsche for not having enough cup holders, but it could be a problem to develop the right chemistry considering all the star defenders need time.

3. Penn State
While you don't get better by losing an all-timer like Paul Posluszny, the corps will be one of the best in the Big Ten if Sean Lee takes another step in his progression and Dan Connor is the all-around defender he's expected to be. Finding a top-notch number three will be the main job in fall practice, but there are plenty of options to choose from.

4. Virginia Tech
The linebacking corps is more than just Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, but it's the All-America duo that makes it special. They must stay healthy. Corey Gordon appears ready to shine in a starting role, even though he hasn't done much of anything over the course of his career, while Cam Martin, Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant form a small, but promising backup trio.

5. Ohio State
The Penn State linebacking corps will be hailed by almost everyone as the best in the Big Ten, and rightly so, but the Buckeye two-deep might be even better and has even more potential to be dominant. Jim Laurinatis and Marcus Freeman are sure-things, while Larry Grant, Ross Homan and Austin Spitler will all be fantastic. This is a big, fast, talented group that should be among the best in America.

6. Oregon State
While USC is in a linebacking class of its own, Oregon State isn’t far behind in the league with a trio of senior starters led by Derrick Doggett on the strongside. Oregon State is beginning to develop a track record of producing playmaking linebackers with pro potential.  This year’s group will enhance that growing reputation with three players capable of earning all-league honors.

7. Nebraska
It's more of a star-studded corps than it might get credit for on a national level. Bo Ruud and Corey McKeon will get all-star honors, while Steve Octavien has top 100 draft pick potential. As good as everyone is, there has to be more forced turnovers and more big plays against the run. Those will come.

8. Oklahoma State
A major concern going into last year has turned into one of the team's biggest strengths with more than enough talent and depth to form a good rotation. Once Collins is healthy, and if he's able to go, this has the potential to be one of the Big 12's better corps with experience, speed, and a boat load of talent no matter who's starting. As a group, it needs to play a bit more disciplined and has to be a bit stronger against the run.

9. Boston College
Virginia Tech's linebacking corps is the best in the ACC, and Georgia Tech and Miami have great ones, but BC's is up there. There's speed, hitting ability, experience, and a boatload of talent even without Brian Toal. With a good line in front of them taking care of most of the running plays, the linebackers will roam free, for the most part, and be extraordinary.

10. LSU
The speed and talent generally makes up for any problems. The corps only faced one team, Arkansas, that could pound the rock on a consistently effective basis (that includes Auburn), and the Hogs tore off 298 yards and three touchdowns. Either this crew will be exposed as above-average early on against Virginia Tech, or it'll firmly establish itself as the star corps of the conference.

11 Tennessee
12 TCU
13 Miami  
14 Georgia Tech
16 Clemson
17 Auburn
18 South Florida
19 Virginia
20 Florida  
21 Michigan
22 Wisconsin
23 Arizona  
24 Colorado  
25 California
26 South Carolina
27 Illinois
28 Oklahoma
29 Florida State 
30 Arkansas  
31 BYU
32 New Mexico
33 Nevada
34 Wyoming 
35 Iowa  
36 Rutgers
37 Louisville 
38 Kansas State
39 Georgia
40 Southern Miss 
41 Missouri
42 Maryland
43 Wake Forest
44 Alabama
45 Notre Dame
46 Michigan State
47 Mississippi State
48 Vanderbilt
49 Boise State
50 Connecticut
51 Kentucky
52 Baylor
53 Tulsa
54 NC State
55 Washington
56 Texas A&M
57 Arizona State
58 West Virginia
59 Washington State
60 Kansas
61 Stanford
62 Central Michigan 
63 Houston
64 San Jose State
65 Hawaii
66 Iowa State
67 SMU
68 Cincinnati
69 Mississippi  
70 East Carolina
71 Oregon
72 Pitt
73 Syracuse
74 Colorado State
75 Fresno State
76 Indiana
77 Utah  
78 Minnesota
79 Memphis
80 Texas Tech
81 Akron
82 Kent State
83 Northern Illinois
84 Air Force
86 Western Michigan
87 Northwestern
88 North Carolina
89 Duke
90 Purdue
91 Marshall
92 Bowling Green
93 Toledo
94 Miami Univ.
95 Florida Atlantic
96 Ball State
97 UAB
98 Louisiana Tech
99 Idaho
100 Troy
101 Ohio
102 UCF
103 UNLV
104 Rice
105 Tulane
106 North Texas
107 San Diego State
108 Eastern Michigan
109 Middle Tennessee
110 FIU
111 Buffalo
112 New Mexico State
113 Utah State
114 UL Lafayette
115 Arkansas State
116 UL Monroe
117 Navy
118 Army
119 Temple