Monday, July 25, 2011

Taking Inventory: Linebackers

I feel like writing this post about the TCU linebacking corps might be a waste of time, because even the most casual fans know that anyone that climbs to the top of the depth chart and grabs one of the precious two starting LB spots in the 4-2-5 is going to be a baller. Seriously, I dare you to name a Horned Frog linebacker under Patterson that wasn't completely, utterly, disgustingly good. Bayer, McDonald, Goolsby, (Martin) Patterson, Hawthorne, Phillips, Henson, Washington...the list goes on and on. The point I'm making is- there are no question marks at linebacker for TCU, only exclamation points.

Making matters even better is that both of last year's starters, senior Tank Carder and junior Tanner Brock, both return for 2011. What'd they do in 2010? Oh, Brock just led the team with 104 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. And all Tank did was notch 60 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, a fumble recovery and five pass break-ups...including the one that saved the Rose which he had the most insanely dominant individual defensive performance in a TCU bowl game since Stephen Hodge in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.

Backing them up will be senior Kris Gardner and junior Kenny Cain, both of whom played in all 13 games last year. Both of these guys excelled on special teams, and would likely start for a majority of Division I teams. Two other returning lettermen that will push for playing time while also serving on special teams are the head-hunting junior Greg Burks and walk-on junior David Stoltzman, who was the team's Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year last year and has played in four games over the past two seasons.

The future also looks bright at linebacker, with a plethora of true & redshirt freshmen who are waiting for their turn to shine. Marcus Mallet, who had scholarship offers from SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten schools, is likely chomping at the bit after being redshirted last year. Deryck Gildon looks like the most likely of the true freshmen to play this fall after enrolling in January and impressing coaches during the springs- and fans at the spring game, when he scored a touchdown on an interception return. Austin Terry and Laderice Sanders joined the program this summer and both have the athleticism to excel at linebacker...and the size to perhaps move to the defensive line.

Let's hear your thoughts on the linebacking corps in the comments section. Can Tanner & Tank top their ridiculous 2010 stats? Who else really makes their presence felt this fall? Who are the next stars at linebacker?


shortnkerley's said...

Gildon in the spring game has me convinced he's the next star. That is one big SOB for a kid who still should've been in high school, and he looked very instinctual and talented, so just wait until the coaching kicks in. Have been excited about Mallet while now, just don't know when he'll get on the field.

Taylor said...

"The point I'm making is- there are no question marks at linebacker for TCU, only exclamation points."

What a line

LA Frog said...

To add an exclamation point to our LBs -- Am I the only one that didn't know Tank is a dad?! Just something I learned on his chat at MWC's Media Days.