Ed. Note: The black box next to a player is a full year of eligibility remaining and the grey box means that they had a redshirt available. For example, Breiden Fehoko played as a true freshman, but he still has a redshirt year available to him, much like Dylan Cantrell took this year.
It seems as if two of the linebacker spots are sewn up with Dakota Allen and D’Vonta Hinton receiving a ton of playing time at the end of the year. Even with Allen and Hinton hurt at times, I think we saw Jenkins play quite a bit as the back-up. With Allen, Hinton and Jenkins, I thought they were okay and I think by the time that they are sophomores or juniors, they’re going to be really good. Maybe the biggest problem that they had was being out of position and the result was a huge play. Everyone gives up plays, but when there is no one there to clean it up, or a linebacker has gotten so sucked into the line that they can’t come back and make a play, then that’s where (I hope) experience helps some of those big plays that end up going for touchdowns. I think this is their biggest improvement.
The question will be what exactly will David Gibbs run and what exactly is his long-term plan at linebacker. Does Gibbs want a hybrid linebacker as that third linebacker and/or safety? Could we see Jamile Johnson make a move at that third linebacker spot with maybe Payton Hendrix (not listed here) as a potential back-up for that hybrid position?
For me, how this position evolves through the spring is, the biggest question.
And by the time that signing day arrives, this entire position group could see a significant influx of additional talent. Please note that Picone is here for the spring, which means that he’s participating in practices and that’s a huge thing for him. He could also end up being that hybrid linebacker alongside Johnson. Picone was a terror in Louisiana and made a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He just might force his way on the field if he continues to make those plays.