Ranking the Roster: LB

The Hurricanes are three games into their 2015 season and CanesTime's Mike Bakas breaks down an evaluation of the roster up to this point. This piece focuses on the linebacker group.

1. Raphael Kirby -- The team's leader on defense, Kirby is locked in and ready to go as the team's mike linebacker. He had 10 tackles against Nebraska and looks to be doing a solid job replacing Denzel Perryman. He likely wont have the type of season DP had in 2014 but Kirby's senior season is off to a solid start.

2. Jermaine Grace -- The fastest Hurricane linebacker, Grace has been very active through the first three games. He makes plays all over the field and is second on the team in tackles. Because of his speed and play-making ability he may not be far behind Kirby in terms of overall production this season. He's off to a solid start to what should end up being a rock solid junior season.

3. Tyriq McCord -- A converted defensive end, McCord has started all three games and has played relatively well. Because his best attribute is rushing the passer he'll never look all world playing in space but he has lots of experience and can make game-changing plays at times.

4. Juwon Young -- After missing the first two games due to injury, Young returned against Nebraska. While his main role will likely be on special teams early on he should see more and more playing time behind Kirby in the middle. He's a talented kid with an ideal blend of size and speed.

5. Marques Gayot -- A converted safety, Gayot has a lot of speed and athleticism as an outside linebacker. He's been very active off the bench and looks like he'll continue getting a good amount of playing time. He suffered a neck injury earlier this week in practice, however, so his status for next week's game against Cincinnati is likely very much in question.

6. Charles Perry -- An athletic true freshman, he saw action in the first two games but didn't see the field against Nebraska. While he may not factor into the rotation much anytime soon, he appears to be the best of the five freshmen.

7. Terry McCray -- A redshirt freshman, McCray hasn't been able to work his way into the rotation yet. He saw action in the opener but that's been it. Playing time in the immediate future seems bleak for him at this point.

8. Michael Smith -- A redshirt freshman, Smith has been unable to crack the rotation and is still probably a year away from being able to make a difference.

9. Jamie Gordinier -- The impressive part with this kid is they were able to use him during fall camp as a backup at two different linebacker spots. It's unclear where his future is but he's not likely to factor into the rotation anytime soon.

10. James King -- An undersized and lightly recruited local player, King needs to add some weight and strength before really getting into the mix.

* Darrion Owens -- He was neck and neck with McCord for that third starter spot in the preseason when he suffered a season-ending injury.

Canes Time Top Stories