Going into Spring - LINEBACKERS

The previous few articles concerned positions without a lot of depth, and in many cases, experience. However, that simply is not the case at linebacker. Greg Wade and Kelvin Chaisson have both graduated and both played extensively last season, each starting their own share of games. But, playing time was spread around so most of the linebackers who will be available in the spring have extensive experience, also.

The players will be listed in alphabetical order. Just because a player was a middle linebacker last year doesn't mean he will be in 2003, and the same goes for either of the outside positions. If the defense, due to the shortage at DT, goes to a 3-man front, or if Baylor is in a 4-4-3, it will mean a shift of positioning for all linebackers.

Colin Allred, 6-2, 230, So-1L - According to the participation chart on the official site, Colin Allred was redshirted last season. He did play in the final four games of 2001, which is the extent of his experience.

Justin Crooks, 6-0, 224, Jr-2L - Coming into his junior year, having played since his true freshman season, Justin has lots of experience. Justin only missed the Tulsa game last season, playing in the other 11, and started the final game against Oklahoma State. Crooks was 9th on the team in total tackles with 44 (28 solo, 16 assisted). He also got 2 sacks, which put him in third place with two other players.

John Garrett, 6-2, 244, Sr-3L - it doesn't seem possible that John is already a senior. Last season was cut short for John as he suffered a serious knee injury in the game against Kansas. It was John's fifth start of the season and his 13th consecutive start since missing the 3rd game of the 2001 season against Iowa State. In those five games in which he played, John Garrett still finished 15th in tackles with 22 (22 solo, 11 assisted), and one sack. John will most likely be missing from spring training as he continues to rehabilitate from his injury, and it's also been reported he has some catching up to do, academically.

Jamaal Harper, 6-1, 225, So-1L - Better known to his teammates as J-Harp, Jamaal is also coming off an injury-plagued season. Jamaal played in the first two games, missed the third, and then played in the fourth. He was then out until the final game of the season. He only had one tackle for the season.

Stephen Sepulveda, 6-2, 228, Sr-3L - Another player who has suddenly become a senior in his final season of eligibility is Stephen Sepulveda. Stephen, who has played extensively as a true freshman, had agreed to walk-on at Baylor with the understanding that if any linebacker from the 2000 recruiting class didn't qualify, he would be given that scholarship. Well, he didn't and he was and that was that. Stephen certainly was no disappointment, playing in 10 of 11 games and getting 10 toatl tackles that first year. As a sophomore, Stephen started all 11 games. Last season, Stephen played in all 12 games last season, starting 11 of them. He finished in a tie for 6th place in total tackles on the team with 47 (32 solo, 15 assisted). He also got one sack during the season, that one coming against Oklahoma for a loss of 6 yards.

Michael Tolbert, 6-0, 240, Jr-2L - Mike played in all 12 games last season, starting in four. He finished 12th on the team in tackles with 40 (26 solo, 14 assisted).

Nathan Uranga, 6-1, 223, Fr-RS - Nathan was redshirted last season. He had some great stats coming out of high school and coming into his first spring training, will be looked at closely.

James Washington, 6-2, 202, Sr-1L - James came to Baylor last season as a juco DB signed to play LB. He played in 11 of 12 games last season, starting none of them. He had 20 tackles (17 solo, 3 assisted) last season. James didn't register a sack last season but he did have one tackle for a loss of one yard.

OTHER LINEBACKERS ON THE ROSTER

Josh Arnold, 5-8, 186, Fr-RS, Round Rock HS
Damon Dotson, 5-9, 200, Fr-Rs, Houston Stratford
Marc Gurgiolo, 6-3, 184, Jr-Sq, Colleyville Heritage
James Irwin, 6-1, 208, Jr-Sq, Crawford - actually played in one game last season, against Samford.
Tyler Lindstrom, 6-2, 202, So-1L, Omaha Millard West, NE - Tyler played in three games last season; Samford, Texas A&M, and the final game against Oklahoma State. He actually wound up with 5 tackles on the season, finishing among the top thirty tacklers on the team.
Daniel Sepulveda, 6-3, 220, Fr-Rs, Highland Park - Brother of LB Stephen Sepulveda, Daniel could see some playing time this fall. He will get the spring to demonstrate whether or not he has many of the same attributes of his older brother.

Lots of bodies and the competition begins all over for the new coaching staff. Linebacker competition in the spring could be an interesting situation. Look for those able to participate to take full-advantage of anyone missing or unable to go 100%.


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