Ranking the Most Important on Defense: No. 2

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated is now just a day away from the top spot on the defensive countdown.

No. 2:

Player: Tom Wort

Position: Starting middle linebacker

The rundown: Wort busted his knee during fall camp in 2009 as he was jumping up in the air for a ball and came down awkwardly, and that forced him to miss the entire season. He redshirted and came back strong last season. Wort racked up 66 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, 4.5 of which were sacks. He played in 12 games and started nine at the MIKE position. His 10 tackles in the Red River Rivalry was a career-high and sack total in 2010 ranked fifth in the Bob Stoops era.

Expectations for 2011: The tragic loss of linebacker Austin Box back in May increased his already large role into a huge one. He will be an every down player at middle linebacker and one expected to make some big time plays. In midst of linebacker Travis Lewis' absence at the start of the season, Wort is expected to step up both as a vocal leader and one in production. He is the guy this defense will revolve around until Lewis returns. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables always stresses the importance of the middle of the defense, and not just at the D-line position. That means MIKE as well, for which Wort must lock down. A similar sack total would not be surprising for a player of Wort's caliber at the linebacker position, and he'll be close to the Top Five on the team, if not in there, in tackles, once again.


No. 25: Julian Wilson

No. 24: James Haynes

No. 23: Geneo Grissom

No. 22: Joe Powell

No. 21: Quentin Hayes

No. 20: Torrea Peterson

No. 19: Jaydan Bird

No. 18: R.J. Washington

No. 17: David King

No. 16: Sam Proctor

No. 15: Joseph Ibiloye

No. 14: Stacy McGee

No. 13: Javon Harris

No. 12: Casey Walker

No. 11: Gabe Lynn

No. 10: Aaron Colvin

No. 9: Tony Jefferson

No. 8: Jamell Fleming

No. 7: Demontre Hurst

No. 6: Jamarkus McFarland

No. 5: Ronnell Lewis

No. 4: Corey Nelson

No. 3: Frank Alexander

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