Position Preview: Linebackers

The position previews continue with the linebackers. It's one of the deepest positions on the team, but that depth is also unproven. Will they be able to perform as well as the did in '05?

Players at the position:

Rashad Bobino, 5-11, 230, Soph
Jeremy Campbell, 6-2, 220, Soph
Antwan Cobb, 6-0, 205, Fr
Scott Derry, 6-3, 230, Jr
Dustin Earnest, 6-3, 217, Fr
Tyrell Gatewood, 6-2, 210, Jr
Drew Kelson, 6-2, 215, Jr
Robert Killebrew, 6-2, 230, Jr
Sergio Kindle, 6-4, 225, Fr
Roddrick Muckelroy, 6-2, 230, Fr-RS
Jared Norton, 6-3, 236, Fr

Depth Chart
Starter - Primary Back-Up

Will (Weakside): Drew Kelson - Jeremy Campbell
Mike (Middle): Rashad Bobino - Roddrick Muckelroy
Sam (Strongside): Robert Killebrew - Sergio Kindle

Aaron Harris may have left, but, essentially, three starters still remain at the position. Drew Kelson transitioned from safety to linebacker last season and had significant playing time in every game last season and even started three. Kelson registered 36 tackles, a sack, four pass break ups, two forced fumbles (including a huge one against Ohio State), one recovered fumble and one INT (not including the disputed one against USC). He'll be starter at weakside linebacker, where Rashad Bobino started all 13 games last season. Bobino, a Freshman All-American in 2005, is moving into the middle linebacker spot.

Robert Killebrew will remain as the starter on the strongside and is considered to be one of the top linebackers in the nation for 2006. The honorable mention All-Big 12 selection had 67 tackles, 10 for loss and four sacks last year and is one of the leaders of the unit, but he'll be pushed hard by No. 1 overall linebacker prospect Sergio Kindle. The freshman is a monster of a man, yet still runs the 40 in the 4.5 range. The combination of side and speed means when Kindle hits you, you remember it. As good as the other linebackers are, the two most talented players at the position may be the starting and back-up strongside linebackers. There may be even more shifting around at the position before this season is done.

Linebacker is one of the deepest positions on the team in terms of talent, but that talent is also very unproven. Backing up Kelson and Bobino will be Jeremy Campbell and Roddrick Muckelroy. Campbell played in only three games last season, but both Killebrew and Kelson mentioned during spring practices that Campbell has surprised everyone with how impressive he's looked in practice. Muckelroy could have played last season, but ended up receiving a redshirt. According to coaches and players, he is pushing Bobino hard for the starting middle linebacker spot. Muckelroy had 378 tackles in his high school career at Hallsville.

The Texas coaching staff likes to rotate their linebackers and use the depth this team has, so expect Kindle, Muckelroy and Campbell to be on the field a lot in key situations. There's plenty of talent backing up the starters, but it's all unproven. Regardless, this talent will have a chance to develop over the next two seasons, as there's not a scholarship senior at linebacker on the roster.

Further depth will be provided by juniors Scott Derry and Tyrell Gatewood, who may have finally found his position. Gatewood started out at wide receiver, then, as of the Spring Game was at safety, now he's been working out with the linebackers and has settled into the position…for now.

There are also four freshmen coming at linebacker for Texas. Kindle will play for sure and Jared Norton will also likely get some experience on the field. Antwan Cobb and Dustin Earnest will get probably get shirts. Freshman DE Lamarr Houston may end up getting playing time at linebacker as well.

Monday, July 24: QBs
Tuesday, July 25: RBs
Wednesday, July 26: WRs
Thursday, July 27: TEs
Friday: July 28: OLs

Monday, July 31: DEs
Tuesday, Aug. 1: DTs
Wednesday, Aug. 2: LBs
Thursday, Aug. 3: DBs
Friday, Aug. 4: Special Teams


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