Ball State Season Preview: Linebackers

A position-by-position breakdown of the Ball State football team as it prepares for the 2015 season.

If there is one key to any defense being successful, it is the play of the linebackers. The second line of defense is often seen as the glue to a team, where the teams run stuffers reside, where the guys that fill the gaps and sink into coverage hang out. For Ball State, the linebacking corps is a source of strength with all three starters returning and talented backups waiting in the wings.

The strength of the Cardinals’ defense will be the trio of Ben Ingle, Zack Ryan and Aaron Taylor. All three have started at least one season and all three are among the top returning tacklers for the Cardinals defense. Ryan, a 5-11 224 redshirt junior and former walk-on, is the man in the middle where is seen as the crazy guy of the group and the one that keeps things from getting too tense. Ingle, a 5th year senior, is the tough guy, the one that is always there to make a play. Taylor, the 5-11 205 converted safety, is the cover guy on the edge, able to cover slots or tight ends while also helping out against the run.

Behind the starting three are three up and coming talents and two proven veterans who are pushing for playing time.

The youth comes from junior Sean Wiggins (6-3 228), who is seemingly always in need of more snaps and plays at a high level every time he is on the field. Stu Stanley (6-1 229), a former high school S/DB who has added weight and is a physical presence. And Damon Singleton (6-2 234), a phenomenal athlete as a redshirt freshman who will certainly be on the field more and more as the season moves forward.

For the proven veterans, two fifth year seniors in Julian Boyd (6-1 230) and Avery Bailey (6-1 208), are both back and have starting experience in years past.

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