Spring Position Outlook - Linebackers

We continued our Spring Position Outlook on Tuesday with a look at a defensive line that should be a strength for the Longhorns in 2014. Today we'll look at position that should benefit from them, and that can also be an asset for Charlie Strong if everyone stays healthy.

Position:

Linebackers

Who is gone?

Aaron Benson

Benson is on track to graduate and is giving up football.

Who is on campus?

Jordan Hicks, Demarco Cobbs, Tevin Jackson, Peter Jinkens, Tim Cole, Steve Edmond, Kendall Thompson, Naashon Hughes, Deoundrei Davis, Andrew Beck, Dalton Santos

What's that mean?

It means the Longhorns have virtually everyone back from a group that showed progress in 2013, but that was decimated by injury.

Hicks, a preseason first team All-Big 12 pick, started the first four games at weakside linebacker before his season ended with an Achilles injury.

It was the second time in two years Hicks missed most of the season. In 2012 he missed the final 10 games with a hip injury.

Cobbs missed all of 2013 as he was still recovering from a knee injury suffered toward the end of 2012. He's back practicing this spring.

Jackson played in seven of the first eight games (recording five tackles) before he suffered a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee vs. Kansas and missed the final five games.

Edmond put together a season worthy of honorable mention All-Big 12 honors by the leagues coaches (ranked fifth on the team with 73 tackles, second with two interceptions, and tied for third with five pass breakups), but he missed the final two games due to a lacerated liver suffered in the second quarter against Texas Tech.

Santos and Jinkens really came into their own with all of the injuries though. Santos led all linebackers, and finished fourth on the team, with 74 tackles, including 10 tackles-for-loss, which also led all LBs.

Jinkens emerged as a much-needed boost of energy and tallied 49 tackles (2 TFL).

Thompson finished with 21 tackles in 12 games while Hughes and Davis (knee injury) redshirted. Beck (Tampa, Fla./Plant), a three-star rated the No. 36 middle linebacker in the country, is an early enrollee from the 2014 class.

Who isn't on campus yet?

Cameron Hampton

Hampton, a three-star linebacker rated the No. 13 MLB in the country, chose Texas over offers from Illinois LSU, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and West Virginia.

Here is some video:

Season prediction

If Hicks can stay healthy for an entire season he'll make good on the 2013 preseason All-Big 12 selection. Edmonds, to, will work his way into earning some degree of conference recognition.

Santos and Jinkens will continue to be on the uptick while earning fan favoritism on defense because of their style of play and attitude on the field.

If Saturday's scrimmage was any indication, you are going to be seeing Hughes – a former greyshirt candidate – be used in some unique packages to really show off his athleticism. He and Jinkens were actually used as quasi defensive ends to highlight their speed off the edge.


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