Who lost -- or welcomes back -- their top tacklers

February, 12, 2009
2/12/09
5:08
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Most every fan knows if his team's starting quarterback -- or leading rusher -- is coming back next season.

Some, of course, know the name of every returning starter. And some have even memorized the two-deep depth chart. Or three.

For most fans, however, defense often becomes a nameless blob of "10 starters back ... yippee!" Or "just three guys back? Yikes!"

(Oregon State fans upon finding out they only have three defensive starters back merely write 15,000-word essays about why this doesn't matter, based on a complicated series of mathematical equations and coordinator Mark Banker's ability to teach his players to breathe through their eyelids).

So I went through each team to figure out how many of the top-four tacklers from last season are coming back in 2009.

Production matters. 

Some of these surprised me (my suspicion that UCLA will improve significantly next season got another boost).


Arizona: Lost three of top four

  • Top returner: S Cam Nelson (third)

Arizona State: Lost two of top four

  • Top returners: LB Mike Nixon (first); LB Travis Goethel (third)

California: Lost two of top four

  • Top returners: LB Mike Mohamed (third); CB Syd'Quan Thompson (fourth)

Oregon: Lost two of top four

  • Top returners: S T.J. Ward (first); LB Spencer Paysinger (second)

Oregon State: Lost three of top five (tie for fourth-leading tackler)

  • Top returners: LB Keaton Kristick (second); LB Dwight Roberson (tie fourth)

Stanford: Lost two of top four

  • Top returners: S Bo McNally (first); CB Kris Evans (tied for third)

UCLA: Lost one of top four

  • Top returners: LB Reggie Carter (first); CB Alterraun Verner (second); S Rahim Moore (fourth)

USC: Lost four of top four

  • Top returner: FS Taylor Mays (fifth)

Washington: Lost zero of top four

  • Top returners: LB Mason Foster (first); S Nate Williams (second); LB Trenton Tuiasosopo (third); LB Donald Butler (fourth)

Washington State: Lost one of top four

  • Top returners: FS Xavier Hicks (second); CB Romeo Pellum (third); SS Chima Nwachukwu (fourth)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Friday, 11/28
Saturday, 11/29