Today we’ll tackle the Linebacker group.
This is another group where like-for-like numbers were used, even though it’s not going to look like it on paper. Three senior linebackers graduated - Travis Feeney, Cory Littleton, and Scott Lawyer, and two linebackers are set to come in for 2016 - Camilo Eifler, Brandon Wellington.
The reason like-for-like numbers should pan out here down the road is because of the BUCK outside linebacker/defensive end position. At one point UW Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski had 7-8 different players working at the BUCK spot, based on down-and-distance scenarios.
So it’s important to not just look at the linebackers as a group, but the defensive front seven as a whole. And on that score, Washington replaced five departing players with five incoming players.
Littleton played at 6-foot-3 and 227 pounds; right now Eifler is 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds. Expect Eifler to come in this summer closer to 220 pounds. There’s no question the U.S. Army All-American has the raw athleticism and tools to be able to play one of the outside linebacker spots like Littleton did.
Wellington is only 6-foot and 215 right now but expect him to put on at least five pounds by the time he enrolls this summer. Lawyer came to Washington at 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds before eventually bulking up to 232 pounds last year. That’s a substantial increase, and while I don’t necessarily think Wellington will do the same it wouldn’t surprise me. He has the frame to do it.
From a quantity standpoint, Bob Gregory filled his numbers.
How about from a quality standpoint? It’s hard to find fault with any of the players in this group. Gregory was able to fill his quota by keeping one local stud at home (Wellington) while at the same time dipping into the vast talent pool known as California and snagging one of the state’s best without much of a fight (Eifler).
When it comes to Eifler and Wellington, it wouldn’t shock me one bit if they were 1a and 1b on Gregory’s shopping list; one was a U.S. Army All-American and the other should have been. He only helped his high school team to back-to-back Washington State 3A titles.
One could certainly make a case that Mique Juarez was right up there too, but those are the only three linebackers that took official visits to Montlake this past recruiting cycle.
And when we’re putting Eifler and Wellington up against Scout.com’s number-one outside linebacker in the country in Juarez, it’s hard to do anything but give Gregory and the UW defensive coaches a very strong grade for the linebacker class.
It’s chock full of numbers, potential replacements for the players that have departed, and the quality is there in spades.