Gridiron on the Plains: Depth Chartin’ the Linebackers

This morning, we take a look at the depth chart for the linebackers, including incoming freshman D’Vonta Hinton. It appears to be a top-heavy and talented group.

Mike Mitchell
SO (6-3/229)
Micah Awe
SR (6-0/233)
Sam Atoe
SR (5-11/232)
Malik Jenkins
JR (6-1/222)
Dakota Allen
RS FR (6-2/234)
Jacarthy Mack
SO (6-3/202)
Bobby Esiaba
SR (6-0/226)
D’Vonta Hinton
FR (5-9/204)
Collin Bowen
SO (6-3/212)
Kahlee Woods
SO (6-1/231)

Best Competition?

I think middle linebacker is the spot where there’s the most depth and I think that’s by a long-shot. Awe, Allena and incoming freshman Hinton looks to be a log-jam and that’s a good thing. Allen is probably a guy that can play anywhere he wants to play and I’m so excited for his potential, so it makes the most sense to me to see Hinton at MLB next year and we can figure out where Allen goes in a year. And I have no idea what to really think about Woods, so I’ve got him 4th overall, although I think it may be more likely that Hinton his behind him, at least to start.

Freshman Impact?

You’ve got one option and one option only. I’m hoping that Hinton redshirts, although he probably doesn’t want to redshirt. For me, I think unless there are issues and we find out that Mack and Jenkins can’t play a lick, then let Hinton redshirt. For me, taking off Hinton’s redshirt is one of those “break glass in case of emergency” sort of situations.

Expectations for 2015?

I’m ridiculously excited about the starters and I think Allen is going to be a star as well. There’s been chatter from Chris Level about how Mike Mitchell might play some outside linebacker, but what about Allen? Allen’s the same age and already bigger and would maybe make just as much sense if there’s a log-jam at linebacker for this year. I also think that Hinton could eventually be at the strongside linebacker spot and it really depends on whether or not Mack and Bowen start to come on, but Atoe seems to have a real hold of that spot.

And maybe this goes for just about everything, which is the idea that I don’t know how much Jenkins, Woods and Mack are going to contribute and I really don’t know how much they’ll make an impact. You could also throw Barnes in that mix. This was the first linebacker group for Kingsbury and we just haven’t seen enough of these guys to know what they can do. This is a big year for that group and we’ll see if they can play. I’m pretty confident about the starting three + Allen, in part because I think they are all superior athletes, but after that I’ve got a lot of questions.

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