OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (Striker)
Starter: Jordan Drake #13 Jr.
Backup: Josh Tate #41 Jr.
Backup: Chris Johnson #46 Jr.
Junior Jordan Drake (6-4, 220) of Douglasville, Ga., returns to start at the striker outside linebacker position but could be unseated in the fall by either Josh Tate or Chris Johnson. Last season Drake started every game finishing the season with 49 tackles, 4 1/2 tackles for losses and two sacks. Drake came up big for Navy in the 31-30 win over Indiana, a game in which he had eight tackles and an interception that he returned 24 yards for a touchdown. In 2011 Drake saw action in 11 games, mostly on special teams, and finished with four tackles. Drake, who missed the recent spring drills due to an ankle injury, is expected to be back to 100 percent in the fall.
Josh Tate (5-11, 209), a junior from Nashville, Tenn., saw action in all all games last season as a backup linebacker. He finished spring drills tied with Chris Johnson as the backup striker outside linebacker positions. Tate had 23 tackles, 2 1/2 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery last season. At the Navy Prep School in 2010 Tate was considered one of the best players. He started playing at safety and then was later moved to outside linebacker where he found a home. Jim Lawler described Tate as a player coming out of NAPS.
"He is built like a rock and looks the part of a big time FBS safety getting off the bus," wrote Lawler. "Tate started last season at safety before he was moved to linebacker. Tate has good size and terrific speed. On the field he looks and plays even bigger than his listed size."
Another junior, Chris Johnson (6-1, 207) of Cape Coral, Fla., would have been the opening day starter at outside linebacker last season had it not been for a knee injury suffered in practice just before the opener against Notre Dame. Johnson was a direct admit who has the tools to be a great player for Navy. Lawler wrote about Johnson following spring drills last season.
"Johnson is a very good athlete with quickness and 4.53 speed in the 40 yard dash," wrote Lawler. "He plays fast and is extremely athletic allowing him to slip or just run around blocks. Chris has the speed to track down plays from the backside."
Navy is strong at the striker outside linebacker position. Any three of the aforementioned players could start at the position and there would be little, if any, drop off in effectiveness.
Navy Spring Depth Chart Review: Striker OLB
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