Big East year-end rankings: Linebackers

December, 19, 2008
12/19/08
2:42
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

My year-end positional rankings are coming down the home stretch now as we move on to linebackers:

 
 Scott Boehm/Getty Images
 Scott McKillop was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

1. Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh: The Big East defensive player of the year, and with good reason. He may not be a high-round NFL draft pick, but someone will get a steal.

2. Tyrone McKenzie, South Florida: The well-traveled senior, who had stops at Michigan State and Iowa State before coming to Tampa, has recorded 355 tackles in the past three seasons.

3. Mortty Ivy, West Virginia: Emerged this season as a real force while senior Reed Williams was out with a shoulder injury. Terrific in pass coverage.

4. Scott Lutrus, Connecticut: Draws inevitable comparisons to McKillop since they have the same first name and are both tackling machines. He's still got two more years of eligibility, too.

5. Ryan D'Imperio, Rutgers: Came on strong this year after being slowed by a broken leg last season. Should be one of the team's leader's next season as a senior.

6. Kevin Malast, Rutgers: Led Scarlet Knights and finished fourth in the Big East in tackles.

7. Jon Dempsey, Louisville: Junior-college import gave Cardinals a much-needed boost on defense and should be even better next year.

8. Corey Smith, Cincinnati: The Bearcats are so good up front and in the secondary that their linebackers often get overlooked. They shouldn't.

9. Greg Williams, Pittsburgh: Thrown into the fire as a freshman after some injuries, he really developed as the season went along. Has a ton of speed.

10. Derrell Smith, Syracuse: He's finally found a home at linebacker after moving all over the roster, and the sophomore should provide a good building block for new coach Doug Marrone.

Honorable mention: Jake Flaherty, Syracuse; J.T. Thomas, West Virginia; Austin Ransom, Pittsburgh; Ryan Manalac, Cincinnati; Kion Wilson, South Florida.

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