Spring Football Preview VII: Linebackers

Spring football began March 4, and we're breaking down each position. Next up are the linebackers.

It seemed like just yesterday Maryland had about a thousand linebackers. Now they have only a handful.

Thanks to a scheme change to a 4-3 and a few players moving up to the line, and to massive graduation (see 5 of their top 10 tacklers, all LBs, moving on) it’s another spring group undergoing significant change.

Gone is team-leading tackle Cole Farrand in the middle, as well as No 3 team tackler L.A. Goree and Nos. 11 and 12 in Alex Twine and Matt Robinson. They were all starters and stalwarts at one time or another.

Then, the Terps LBs corps lost two of their top young stars in Yannick Ngakoue and Jesse Aniebonam to the front four in the new scheme, while another standout, senior Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, overcame some career injuries to make it to the NFL Combine last month.

The good news is the Terps regained the services late last season of suspended sophomore middle linebacker Abner Logan, who will man the middle this spring in the new 4-3, while they have some bright young stars climbing the ranks, as well as returning from injury, too. Logan had four stops in reserve duty in the final six games last fall, but the Terps are expecting big things from him in the fall.

They are led outside by sophomore Cavon Walker (6 tackles, one PBU), a big-time thumper and specimen who missed all but two games last season due to a knee injury, as well as another Terp from the same local prep power, FCA’s Jermaine Carter, who played in 12 games last season and had 24 stops after injuring his knee last spring and also has the coaches excited.

Then there is also sophomore Jalen Brooks, who gained valuable experience inside last season with all of the injuries, and finished with 21 tackles and two pass-breakups in 12 games, including four starts.

Meanwhile, junior Avery Thompson (shoulder) will miss the spring following winter surgery.

Up-and-coming from the redshirt freshman ranks is Tyler Burke out of Coatesville, Pa., who Maryland is high on, while former St. Frances (Baltimore) standout Nnamdi Egbuaba is back from injury as well. The Terps also return junior reserve Brock Dean. A walk-on that has been impressive early is Mike Gillespie, the freshman out of Loyola of Baltimore.

Spring camp will be the time to further sort out all the spots and strengths in the new scheme, but heading in Logan, Carter and Brooks will be the big three, while Walker will be nipping at the heels, among others.

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