As previously stated, the Ball State Cardinals defense was not good last season, but if there was a position group that played well during last season, it was the linebackers.
New Linebackers Coach Johnny Curtis is fortunate that he gets to transition from High School LB coach to college with a top level group that returns three starters and several key reserves. The unfortunate news though, is that top LB and All-Mid-American Conference LB Sean Wiggins is currently missing spring practice while recovering from surgery. But what is a negative for one guy is a positive for another as several of the reserves get reps with the first unit as a result of Wiggins being off the field.
In addition to Wiggins' (95 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INT) return, the Cardinals also welcome back 5th year seniors Zack Ryan and Aaron Taylor. Ryan, a former walk-on, was a starter for the two seasons prior to 2015, posted 67 tackles and 3 tackles for loss in spot starting and key reserve duty last season. Taylor, a former Safety, is smaller at 5-11 205, but is able to cover in space with his speed - he also posted 31 tackles and 2 TFL last season.
Also returning and providing depth as key reserves are Sr Stu Stanley and R-Sos Damon Singleton and Jeremiah Jackson. Stanley has been a key special teams performer during his career with spot duty on the defense. Singleton, a up and coming player posted 12 tackles in just 9 games last season. Jackson, who has impressed in practice this spring, was also a stalwart on special teams with 9 tackles in coverage.