2009 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings ... LBs
Florida LB Brandon Spikes
Florida LB Brandon Spikes
Posted Aug 13, 2009

CFN 2009 Preview Unit Rankings - Linebacker Ranked 1 to 120

Preview 2009 ... Unit Rankings


- CFN Preview 2009
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CFN 2009 Unit Rankings
- Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defenses | Defensive Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries  | Special Teams

1. Florida
This group could do more to get into the backfield, and there could be a few more big plays against the pass, but that's trying to come up with a negative. If this isn't the nation's best linebacking corps, it's a close No. 2 with Brandon Spikes the favorite for the Butkus Award and A.J. Jones and Ryan Stamper productive veterans who should be terrific. The second team would start at most places.

2. Penn State
A monster question mark last season is one of the team's biggest strengths going into this year. Getting Sean Lee back is as much of a boost as it gets, while Navorro Bowman is an all-star who should do even more now that he can get into the backfield and can let Lee clean everything up. There's a ton of talent waiting in the wings, but the backups need more time to be ready to roll for next year and if injuries strike the starters.

3. Alabama
There was a big concern here going into last year with off-the-field issues, suspensions, and graduations, but it turned out to be great. Now the star freshmen brought aboard last year appear to be ready to take on bigger roles, while Rolondo McClain is a special talent to work around. This group is deep, big, and extremely productive.

4. Iowa
The linebacking corps turned out to be better than anyone could've dreamed. Granted, the great defensive tackles turned out to do much of the dirty work and the linebackers cleaned things up. That's not to say Pat Angerer, A.J. Edds, and Jeremiha Hunter weren't fantastic, but now they'll likely have more responsibility. All three could end up on All-Big Ten teams.

5. LSU
The linebackers should be the stars of the show. This isn't the most talented linebacking corps LSU has had, but there are producers all across the unit with Jacob Curtera about to blossom into a force and with Harry Coleman, Kelvin Sheppard, and Perry Riley all possible all-stars. This could end up being the team's biggest strength as the season goes on.

6. Georgia
If the offensive line isn't the strength of the team, it'll be the linebackers. Led by Rennie Curran on the weakside, there's a nice combination of experience, size, and rising stars. The parts aren't exactly interchangeable, but there are several versatile players who could move around where needed without much of a drop off in production. There's quickness to burn and more than enough athleticism to clean up anything missed by the line or the secondary.

7. Oklahoma
The linebackers did what they needed to do to get by once Ryan Reynolds went down, but now that he's back the corps should be special. Travis Lewis is a tremendous talent who should be one of the Big 12's leading tacklers again, while Keenan Clayton will earn all-star honors. The starting threesome should combine for well over 300 tackles.

8. Mississippi State
Former North Carolina head coach Carl Torbush will handle the linebackers along with his duties as defensive coordinator, and he has a loaded group. The return of Jamar Chaney will be a huge plus, while the addition of Chris White will make a good situation fantastic. K.J. Wright will earn all-star honors and will soon get an NFL paycheck. The backups have potential to be great if they get time to develop.

9. West Virginia
Whatever the defensive linemen miss, these talented linebackers will be prepared to clean up. Even after losing Ivy to the NFL, it’s a very talented and diverse group that knows the 3-3-5 stack intimately. Reed Williams and J.T. Thomas are All-Big East-caliber, and Pat Lazear and Anthony Leonard aren’t that far behind.

10. Florida State
While even better days lay ahead in 2010 and 2011, the Seminole linebackers will still be plenty good in 2009. The return of Dekoda Watson from injury and seamless transition inside by Kendall Smith will provide a solid foundation as Nigel Bradham, Nigel Carr, and Vince Williams take another step closer to becoming dynamite players.

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