Thursday, June 30, 2011
Ranking the ACC's linebackers
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
Another impossible task ...
1. Luke Kuechly, Boston College: He led the nation in tackles (14.1) and solo tackles per game. He is the active career leading tackler in the nation with 13.1 tackes in 26 career starts. He has an FBS best streak of 22 games with at least 10 tackles.
Miami linebacker Sean Spence had 110 tackles last season.
2. Sean Spence, Miami: He had 110 tackles last season, including 16 for loss. He was the 2008 ACC defensive Rookie of the Year but took a step back in 2009 because of injuries.
3. Kenny Tate, Maryland: He made the move to linebacker this spring under coach Randy Edsall, and will play a hybrid role. He had 100 tackles last year as a safety, more total tackles than any other defensive back in the ACC. He also had 8.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and four pass deflections.
4. Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech: He led the Hokies in tackles last season with 91. He started all 14 games and led the team in TFLs (15.5), was second with six quarterback sacks and also had four pass breakups and eight quarterback hurries.
5. Nigel Bradham, Florida State: He led FSU last season with 98 tackles, five sacks and 5.5 TFLs. He also had five pass breakups, one forced fumble and blocked one kick.
6. Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest: The pass-rusher moved to outside linebacker when Wake changed to a 3-4 defense last fall. He led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He has 24 career TFLs, the third-highest of any returning ACC defender.
7. Terrell Manning, NC State: He finished last season with 75 tackles, including 10.5 TFLs and 4.5 quarterback sacks. He also had one interception, three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
8. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College: He earned first-team FWAA freshman All-American honors after averaging 7.2 tackles per game as a rookie (93 total). He was the second-leading freshman tackler in the country last season and ranked ninth overall in the ACC. He also had three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
9. Demetrius Hartsfield, Maryland: He was the Terps’ third-leading tackler last season with 87, including 5.5 TFLs. He also had an interception, two pass deflections and a fumble recovery.
10. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina: He was the leading tackler last season with 74 and has 119 career tackles in 20 starts. Since he joined the starting lineup, UNC opponents have been held to 104.8 rushing yards per game. He also has two interceptions, seven passes defended and four quarterback hurries.