Position battle: Linebackers

Arizona is set at two of the linebacker spots, but the third seems to be wide open. Read on to see the candidates to fill the position and what each would bring.

Arizona is set at two linebacker spots with Jake Fischer and Marquis Flowers, but the third spot is open. There are numerous candidates for the position and here is a look at each of them:

C.J. Dozier: Dozier saw action in nine games last season, including the final seven of the year. He had 15 tackles in the New Mexico Bowl and is going to get every opportunity to win the job. Dozier is a solid player, but was disappointing in practice for much of last year. Much of his playing time also revolved around Arizona's lack of depth, but he definitely made the most of his action.

Dozier is going to see playing time whether he starts or not, but a few others had more impressive spring camps. It will be interesting to see how Dozier responds during the summer and while it would be a surprise if he earned the starting job, it would not be a shock by any means.

Hank Hobson: Hobson may be the favorite to win the job, figuring he can stay healthy. When he is able to stay on the field, Hobson has played well. He has the size at linebacker that the coaching staff likes and is still developing as a player. There are going to be some rough moments as he continues to develop, but his potential is high.

Hobson's ceiling is higher than most on this list, which is why we think he is the favorite. Health is always a concern once a player misses a significant amount of time, but the talent should be enough to put him on the field plenty.

Sir Thomas Jackson: Thomas Jackson is right there with Hobson as the favorite and you can make an argument that he has an advantage because of his experience last year, as he started 12 games and finished with 58 tackles. Like most players, he did have his rough patches, but there is something to be said for his overall consistency.

The coaching staff knows what it is getting with Thomas Jackson and that is not a bad thing. In fact, it may be his best argument moving forward because he is less of a risk than other linebackers. He sticks to the fundamentals, does not make a lot of mistakes, and has the experience now.

Anthony Lopez: Lopez is a bit of a wildcard. He has solid speed and saw playing time on special teams last season. He broke up a pass in the spring game and generally looked pretty good. The issue here is that it is difficult to go from special teams to starting at linebacker. His playing time may increase and it probably should, but it will be difficult for Lopez to earn the starting job based not only on experienced but because the other players are ahead of him as well.

Dakota Conwell: Conwell was one of six true freshman to play last season and he deserved to. He finished with 12 tackles on the season, including a sack. Conwell was never able to push Sir Thomas Jackson lower in the rotation, but he showed glimpses of what his future at Arizona could hold. It is difficult to tell too much from spring games, but Conwell did lead the defense with five tackles.

It will not be easy for him to push into the first line of linebackers, but he will have a good opportunity this summer. If Conwell can impress and show that he continues to progress, the linebacker could at least make things more interesting. Whether he starts or not though, Conwell will play plenty.

DeAndre Miller: It's not likely that Miller starts and it is difficult to gauge just where he will be once he arrives on campus, but we think highly of him. Miller is likely to start at some time in his career, although his freshman season is unlikely. The most intriguing aspect of Miller's first season will likely be whether or not the coaching staff wants to redshirt him.

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