1-Christian Jones, Florida State
2012Jones started all 14 games weak-side linebacker and was Florida State's leading tackler with 95, which was seventh-best in the ACC. He finished with seven tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and three pass breakups. In seven of the Seminoles' last nine games of the season, Smith had at least eight tackles.
What he's doing hereThe former four-star prospect has played both outside linebacker positions at Florida State. On the strong-side in 2011, he was second among Seminole defenders with 56 tackles. A starter in every game that season, he had six tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Named to both the media and coaches' All-ACC second-team in 2012, Jones could have turned pro after last season. He'll be an intriguing draft prospect next spring. Jones' combination of size, power and speed could allow him to have a long career in the NFL.
2-Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
2012As a true freshman, Jenkins appeared in all 14 games for Georgia, six of which he started at outside linebacker. He finished with 31 tackles, five sacks and eight tackles for loss. Jenkins also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and recorded two pass breakups.
What he's doing hereJenkins might be the best pass rusher not named Jadeveon Clowney that Clemson will face all season. In fact, he could surpass Jones as the best linebacker the Tigers will see.
The former five-star recruit was the No. 19 overall prospect in the country as a senior in 2012.
Jabari Hunt-Days finished third among Georgia Tech tacklers.
3-Jabari Hunt-Days, Georgia Tech
2012As the youngest starter on the Yellow Jacket defense, Hunt-Days finished third on the team -- first among linebackers -- in total tackles . He had 47 solo tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss, plus one pass interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four pass break-ups.
During postseason play, the inside linebacker had eight tackles, in the ACC?Championship Game and 10 more against USC in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
What he's doing hereNamed a first-team Freshman All-America by FOXSportsNEXT in 2012, Hunt-Days could break through and become an All-ACC performer this season.
The 6-foot-3, 252-pound redshirt sophomore was a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com.
Honorable Mention-Telvin Smith, Florida State
2012Though he was a backup middle linebacker, Smith played in all 14 games and finished third on the team with 64 tackles, which was 18 more than the next non-starter on the Seminoles' defense. His 9.5 tackles for loss tied for 18th in the ACC.
What he's doing hereSmith was solid as a reserve in 2011, too. He had 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
A longtime special teams contributor in Tallahassee, Smith's NFL future will likely be as a special teamer.