Pac-12 Position Rankings: Linebacker continues its look at the Pac-12 by rankings the linebackers. In this case, there are numerous teams that lost starters, but have talented linebackers waiting for an opportunity. continues its Pac-12 position rankings with a look at linebackers.

1. Arizona State: Linebackers certainly are not a worry for Arizona State, especially with Vontaze Burfict coming back for another season.

Brandon Magee will also be returning after having 73 tackles last season and there is plenty of stability with both returning.

The third spot will likely go to Shelley Lyons, although Colin Parker is hoping to make a push. Lyons battled injury last season, but expectations are high.

2. Stanford: The Cardinal return six starters on defense and two of them are linebackers Shane Skov and Chase Thomas, both of which has solid seasons last year.

Skov and Thomas were the two top tacklers last year and combined for 14 sacks. Trent Murphy, Alex Debniak and Blake Lueders are in the mix on the outside, while Max Bergen will likely be a starter.

Keep an eye on James Vaughters, who had as the seventh best middle linebacker in the country coming out of high school.

3. Utah: The Utes shouldn't have much of an issue at linebacker, as it has one of the deepest units in the conference.

Utah returns Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez, both of which were the leading tackles on Utah last season.

Brian Blechen was moved from strong safety to linebacker and Utah feels he can step in and be the best linebacker on the team right away, if not one of the best in the country.

4. Cal: Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt are the returning starters at inside linebackers and the Golden Bears are very confident with both.

David Wilkerson redshirted last season after getting an early concussion, but will likely be one of the starters on the outside this season.

Ryan Davis was a highly touted junior college prospect and was impressive enough to get a starting spot this season as well. Cecil Whiteside, Jason Gibson, and Nick Forbes are three players that will likely come in and make some noise, as Cal has plenty of options at linebacker.

5. USC: The Trojans lost starting linebackers, Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan, who both started last season.

Devon Kennard has hinted he may move back to the defensive line, but as of now is expected to be a starter. Chris Galippo is expected to be a starter as well, but his health will definitely be a concern and should something happen, Shane Horton will be ready to step in.

The biggest question is between Marquis Simmons and Dion Bailey, both of which do not have much experience at all.

6. Oregon: The Ducks' linebackers are going to go through an overhaul after losing Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger to graduation, considering that both were easily Oregon's best linebackers.

Michael Clay played plenty last season as a back-up option and will likely replace one of them. In addition, Josh Kaddu and Bo Lokombo will help handle the strong side for the Ducks.

Kiko Alonso was expected to have a big season, but was suspended indefinitely after facing burglary charges. Now, Oregon has major questions up the middle, as it searches for a consistent options.

7. UCLA: The Bruins have three starters returning at linebacker, but those three are the only ones that got considerable playing time.

The Bruins are hoping Isaiah Bowens is impressive, as he will likely be the top reserve. Ryan Hofmeister is one to watch out for as a junior college transfer that is expected to play right away. Keep an eye on Aaron Wallace, who will likely redshirt, but enrolled early in an attempt to make an impact sooner.

8. Arizona: The Wildcats are in major trouble at linebacker in the sense that there is minimal depth.

Returning are Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo, both of which had solid season last year. Earls was a bit more inconsistent, but Vassallo was one of the better linebackers in the conference.

Jake Fischer was expected to be the third linebacker, but an injury will now cause Arizona to use one of three incoming freshman as the starter, with Rob Hankins being the favorite.

9. Washington State: Alex Hoffman-Ellis is definitely the starter at weakside linebacker and Mike Ledgerwood is the starter in the middle.

After that, there are more questions. Sekope Kaufusi had an impressive spring and will likely be the starter at SAM.

Keep an eye on C.J. Mizell, who could emerge as a starter after having an impressive spring.

10. Washington: The Huskies may have lost leader Mason Foster, but are confident he can be replace. Cort Dennison will step in as the leader and returns with the most experience.

Thomas Tutogi started out spring ball as an outside backer and struggled, but played well as an inside backer and is now there to stay.

The starter at outside linebacker has not been announced, but Garrett Gilliland had a strong spring and there is a good chance he will be the starter.

11. Oregon State: Cameron Collins and Michael Doctor are projected starters on the outside, with the middle linebacker being a major questions.

The outside has plenty of depth with freshman Donell Welch having an impressive spring and Shaydon Akuna emerging as a break out candidate.

The problem is in the middle, where Feti Unga, Tony Wilson, and Reuben Robinson are competing for the starting spot with none of them emerging over the other.

12. Colorado: The Buffs lost two of their three starting linebacker, with Jon Major returning to lead the unit that has plenty of questions and just as much potential talent.

Douglas Rippy and Patrick Mahnke are slated to be the starters on the inside and the general feeling out of spring ball is that the Buffs would like to see more from this unit. The potential is certainly there, but it is hard to be too confident about the unknown.

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