2016 CFN Preseason All-America Linebackers. Who are the best and brightest linebackers coming into the college football season?
2016 CFN Preseason All-America Linebackers
1. Reuben Foster, Sr. Alabama
Next. Reggie Ragland owned the linebacking corps last year, but this season the Crimson Tide will rally around the 6-1, 240-pound blaster. He’s better in pass coverage than Ragland was, and he can bring the same sort of pop making 73 tackles last season as a star against the run. The leadership ability is also there to keep the D at its consistently high level.
2. Anthony Walker Jr., Jr. Northwestern
While he’s not the best linebacker in Northwestern history – his head coach will always hold that honor – he’s one of the most explosive and productive. The 6-1, 235-pounder destroyed offenses with 113 tackles to go along with 19.5 tackles for loss. Lightning fast, tough, and powerful, he’s got it all.
3. Malik Jefferson, Soph. Texas
Charlie Strong’s first really, really big recruit made 61 tackles and seven tackles for loss, but now he’s about to take his game to a whole other level. He beefed up a little bit to get to around 240 pounds on his 6-3 frame, and he’s kept his amazing speed and athleticism. Able to work anywhere in the linebacking corps, he’ll be turned loose no matter where he plays.
2016 CFN Preseason Second-Team All-America Linebackers
4. Hardy Nickerson, Sr. Illinois
The Cal transfer followed his father – the former NFL star by the same name, and new Illini defensive coordinator – to be the anchor of Lovie Smith’s defense. The Bears’ leading tackler last year came up with 111 tackles as a next-level hitter and force, and now he should be a lock for another 100-stop season. The D needs stars to work around, and along with end Dawuane Smoot, Nickerson will be one to count on.
5. Raekwon McMillan, Jr. Ohio State
A top recruit among top Ohio State recruits, he’s a massive hitter with 6-2, 240-pound size and a guided missile style whenever he gets around the ball. The man in the middle of a rebuilding defense, he came up with 119 tackles last season and should once again rock against the run. While he might not do much in the backfield,
6. Tim Williams, Sr. Alabama
Is he the best pure pass rusher in college football? He might not be all that far off of the offseason is any indication. Part linebacker, part defensive end, the 6-4, 237-pounder came up with just 19 tackles last year, but he registered 10.5 sacks. Unblockable at times, watch out for a special season with lots and lots of flash.