MSU DC Carl Torbush Talks Linebackers

Mississippi State defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, who is also Mississippi State's linebackers coach, talks about the linebacking position overall, each of the current linebackers and the incoming freshman linebacker Deontae Skinner.

What are your thoughts about the linebacking position overall?
"That is probably one of our deepest positions as far as guys who have some playing experience. We have Jamar Chaney who has started for several years. K.J. Wright has started. Bo Walters has started a game. Karlin Brown has started a game. Terrell Johnson has played in a game. I think Jamie Jones has played in a game. And we have Mike Hunt, a redshirt freshman, who has a chance. A guy who has been exciting to watch for me is Chris White, a guy who came in as a junior college kid and wound up in the starting lineup because of his work habits and what he had done academically and socially in the offseason. And (during the spring) nobody could beat him out.

"I like the depth right now. It's a very hard-working group, very conscientious group, the kind of group you are looking for because they are not only good football players but they are also really good people."

What specially do you like about each one of your current players?
"I knew that (senior) Jamar Chaney was a great player before I got here. And the first thing I say about him is he is a great team leader. He is the guy that most of them look up to. He is very conscientious, has a great spirituality about him, very well-respected.

"(As for his injury) I didn't see any after effects from the leg injury that he had against Louisiana Tech. He looks like he has recovered from that very, very well. He started off (the spring) a little slow technically but he's picked it up. And there's no doubt that if he performs like I think he can and he stays healthy, then he has a chance to be an All-SEC football player. And I don't think there's any doubt that he'll be a professional football player.

"(Junior) K.J. Wright is one of our top leaders on the team who is also an outstanding young man. And the last couple of weeks he has started being more vocal. He has great size for a linebacker. Another thing I liked about him the last couple of weeks in spring was that he played all three positions, so that gives him a better understanding of the entire defensive scheme. I do believe that he has a chance somewhere down the road to be an all-conference player. He has pro potential as well.

"When you look at our offseason program, (junior) Chris White was probably the most impressive of all of them because of what he was able to do in agility drills, offseason conditioning and weights. And that was probably what caught our attention as a coaching staff early.

"Why (Chris) was put in the starting lineup the first day of spring was because of what he had done overall. And once we put him in there nobody could get him out. And he made improvement day-by-day. That is something that excites you because he didn't level off. He was still getting better at the end of the spring. And he's got a great personality and is just a really good kid.

"(Sophomore) Bo Walters has been injured a lot since he has been here, but when he stays healthy he is a very, very productive player. When he was out there (in the spring) six or seven days in a row you could see some flashes. If he will continue to do that, then he has a chance to be a really good player. I think he is going to be a guy who can play all three positions. He plays Mike linebacker because that is where we need the depth right now.

"I really like (sophomore) Jamie Jones. He's a great kid who got better as the spring went along. And he had a really nice spring game. He is definitely a middle linebacker and he runs really well. He's one of our better offseason guys. He's a young guy whose upside I really like for the future.

"(Junior) Karlin Brown is very undersized for an SEC football player, but he has played in games and been very productive. He is basically a Will linebacker. He loves the game of football and there is no question that he will play for us next year.

"I really like (sophomore) Terrell Johnson's football intelligence. All he needs to do right now is get bigger. I think he has good football skills. He's a guy who can play both outside positions.

"I'm intrigued with (redshirt freshman) Mike Hunt. He came in here as a 190-pound safety, now he's a 240-pound linebacker. He's a good-looking young man who you would sign every year. He's still trying to figure things out but as he understands better you can see the athletic ability. He's going to be a very, very good football player for us."

You have one freshman linebacker coming in, Deontae Skinner.
"He looks very athletic on film and he looks like he's going to be a big guy. He's raw right now and he's probably going to have to get adjusted to what we are doing on defense. Athletically, he has all the skills to have a chance to compete as a freshman. But that will be determined during two-a-days."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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