Linebackers: Position Breakdown

When it is all said and done Q Lee will go down as one of the best linebackers at Arkansas State and there have been some really good ones here. Two straight defensive MVPs in the GoDaddy Bowl and 100-plus tackles the past two seasons builds a pretty good legacy.

The candidates:

Qushaun Lee (5-11, 247) RSr.; Xavier Woodson (6-1, 214) So.; Khari Lane (5-10, 185) Fr.; Austin Copeland (6-1, 200) Jr.; Darius Buckley (5-10, 224) (6-4, 280) RSr.; Carderious Dean (6-3, 235) Jr.; Gage Sharp (6-0, 215 ) RJr.; Quanterio Heath (6-2, 210) RJr.; Troy Wyche (5-11, 215) RFr.; Riley Herrold (6-2, 222) Fr.

The Analysis:

One of the most promising things about GoDaddy Bowl was the performance of Xavier Woodson. Back in his home state, the true freshman put on a show. He and Lee give the Red Wolves a strong pair of Bama linebackers. Heath, in his third year out of Rison, provides depth and should be back in action after being suspended for the opener. The coaches have been real impressed with freshman Khari Lane out of Georgia and he is one the two-deep for the opener. Austin Copeland, a late addition who played at West Virginia, also is in the mix and is a quality player.

Coach speak from Blake Anderson: “It is the usual suspects. Q Lee has done a really good job holding down the fort. And we just have to roll guys. Xavier and Q Heath are there. Austin Copeland is a new guy that people don't really know about that is starting to get in the mix and has been healthy. So you feel like you have some depth there and you feel like between the group you can keep guys fresh.

“Keeping a guy fresh is a big deal all year. With the speed of the game now and the number of reps we are going to get on offense, that is going to fall back over on the defense. If we play fast, and we tend to get a lot of reps, that puts them out there too. We are going to need a lot of bodies; we are going to need conditioning.”