Navy Spring Depth Chart Review: Inside LB continues its post spring review of the Navy depth chart. Today we analyze the striker outside linebacker (MIKE and SAM) position. Brye French looks to have the lead for the starting MIKE position while Matt Warrick has the edge at the SAM spot. Several other Mids will challenge for playing time.

Inside Linebackers
Starters: Brye French #50 Sr.
Backups: Shawn Reed #52 Jr.
Third String: Cody Peterson #53 Jr.
Players to Watch: Joe Worth #56 So.
Starters: Matt Warrick #51 Sr.
Backups: John Michael Nurthen #40 Sr.
Third String: Vinnie Mauro #31 So.
Returning Mike linebacker Matt Brewer was suspended due to a violation of team rules. With Brewer out of the picture for now, senior co-captain Brye French (6-1, 216) moved over from his outside linebacker spot to play Mike linebacker. French played in all 12 games last fall and started nine games at outside linebacker. He posted 55 tackles. He was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week for his 13 tackle performance in his first start against South Carolina. French had a tremendous camp and was the most valuable defender of spring drills. During the Blue & Gold game he had six tackles including a sack.

Senior Matt Warrick is expected to return as a starter at SAM linebacker. He sat out this spring with an injury he sustained lifting weights. Warrick has started the last 14 games at the SAM position. Last year he earned First-Team All-Independent Team honors. He was named to Phil Steele's 2011 All-Independent First Team. Matt led Navy in tackles with 103 and broke up seven passes. Warrick offers nice size inside at 6-2, 229 pounds. The one time former slotback is one of the fastest linebackers on the team.

Neither of the back-ups at inside linebacker have any varsity game reps at the position under their belts. The back-up at Mike linebacker is junior Shawn Reed. Reed was the defensive MVP and leading tackler at the Naval Academy Prep school in 2009. Reed (6-1, 221) is very active, aggressive and a sure tackler. At SAM the backup is senior John Michael Nurthen. The 6-2, 217 pound linebacker appeared in eight games, exclusively on special teams, last year. In the Blue & Gold game Michael Nurthen posted four tackles.

The third string MIKE linebacker is junior Cody Peterson who was converted from fullback last year. He was moved from the raider outside linebacker job to inside linebacker. Last year he appeared in five games and made four tackles. Peterson (6-3, 220) has impressed with his speed, aggressive play and has continued to get bigger and stronger. The third string SAM linebacker is injury prone former top recruit Vin Mauro. With Warrick out junior Vin Mauro was moved over to the SAM linebacker slot and saw plenty of reps. Mauro (6-2, 220) was one of the top rated high school linebacker prospects in Florida in 2010. He chose the Mids over numerous offers from football programs such as Wisconsin, Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Miami. Mauro was set back by a weight lifting injury in his first two years. He played well this spring until a knee injury caused him to miss the Blue & Gold spring game.

A player to watch is sophomore direct admit Joe Worth. He competed for the third string spot on the depth chart late into spring practice. Worth (6-2, 210) played well to put himself in the mix. In the Blue & Gold spring game he made four tackles and intercepted a pass. Worth needs to gain some weight, become stronger and better versed in the system. Top Stories