I wouldn't say best but maybe most reliable? You knew what you were going to get out of him. Harrell, JHD, and Paul Davis still have a lot of potential left to unlock which I think we all agree.
GONE: are Brandon Watts and Daniel Drummond. Watts came to the flats as a wildly athletic young LB who was equally as undisciplined. Whether it was his problem or CAG's, I really don't know. In any case, a chronic getting out of position and failure to remember assignments problem plagued Brandon in the early part of his career and kept him from being one of the "career leaders" at his position. Brandon blossomed his last two seasons to become a versatile force on the defense. His uncommon speed and agility allowed him to cover slot guys and TEs quite well and relieved the DC of having to make as many substitutions on the fly. In my estimation, Brandon will find a home in the NFL somewhere. His speed and size will get him a look. Most NFL teams will have their eyes on more punishing and reliable tacklers for their draft picks, but Brandon's speed cannot be ignored. I look for him to land an NFL job as a FA for his abilities on special teams and work his way through second string and possibly be a situational LB. Replacing him on the flats will be difficult. Drummond, on the other hand, never really got it going at GT. His career started with all kinds of hype, given his physical stature, but soon, a PAD suspension loomed, followed by a sobering realization that he just wasn't that athletic. His inability to move laterally, read plays, and stay low would push him down the depth chart. He was good at filling a running lane, but that isn't enough for a LB in this day and age. Replacing his scholarship with a younger player has to be seen as a positive at this point.
RETURNING WITH PLAYING TIME: Qwayshon Nealy R-SR, 6-1, 232, Tremaine McNair, SR, 6-2, 230, Jabari Hunt-Days, R-JR, 6-3, 245, Tyler Marcordes, R-JR, 6-4, 232, Anthony Harrel, R-JR, 6-2, 230, Paul Davis, SO, 5-11, 215. Qwayshon has been a steady and reliable LB for a couple years running now. While not an elite level performer in any phase, he is pretty good at everything. He can fill the hole, chase players down, and cover in space. He will probably not be discussed for ALL ACC honors in the coming season, but he will be awfully difficult to unseat given his experience and consistency. McNair has been a bit of an enigma to me. He arrived to campus with a pretty good rep and high expectations, but it simply hasn't materialized. He saw time with the second unit in 2013 and projects to do the same in 2014. He still has not used a RS. Could it be the case for 2014? Hunt-Days has started since his R-FR campaign. On the surface, he looks to be an ALL ACC type player, but hasn't yet sustained a level of consistency in effort and focus to make that happen. In fact, he was beaten out by Harrel temporarily before an injury sidelined him. JHD can run and tackle. He combines prototype size and speed for his position, but so far the heart appears to be lacking. Will he arrive in 2014 with more maturity and a fire in his belly? The aforementioned Harrel loves to hit and fly around. He is pretty much everything that JHD isn't. He might not be fast enough or big enough to be considered an elite contender, but he plays with his ears pinned back. I feel sorry for him because returning in 9 months to fall practice after an ACL repair is going to be a huge challenge. At this time, it is hard to expect a meaningful contribution from Anthony in the first half of 2014, if at all. I dearly hope to be proven wrong. He has used his RS, so the pressure is on. Paul Davis was like a breath of fresh air as a true frosh. In my estimation, he is the most instinctive and natural defensive football player we have put on the field since Morgan Burnett. It is rare that I would feel that level of confidence with a freshman in the game at crunch time. He is a great tackler and has very good closing speed while taking extremely good angles. He rarely found himself out of position. Only his size makes him a little vulnerable trying to cover in space. I have often wondered about trying him at safety instead of LB. In any case, he was so good at LB it hardly calls for a move.
OTHER RETURNING PLAYERS: are Chaz Cheeks, R-JR, 6-4, 240, and Beau Hankins, R-SO, 6-1, 232. I am not really sure what has happened with these two, especially Cheeks. Initial reports were all very optimistic. It is not unusual for a kid to see little time in his first season, as is the case with Hankins, but Cheeks has found himself buried a little in the depth chart. I seem to remember some talk of Cheeks going to DE as a pass rusher. I don't really know where this stands at the moment. If it is at all possible, I would like to see him try because, frankly, it is a position of greater need.
IN SUMMARY: I see this position group as being a strength. We are highly likely to improve next season. You can pencil in Nealy at one spot. He will have a strong desire to show the NFL what he can do his last year, as he is probably a bit of a long shot at the next level. He will be a captain on the field. I am going to go ahead and say that JHD will blossom next year. He has been good, but yet, below his potential for the first couple of seasons. Hopefully Harrel will return to provide meaningful competition for him. With PJ Davis having a year under his belt, he will make the loss of Watts unnoticeable. I don't know if you have noticed, but Marcordes has been a steadily improving player who will seriously push the OLBs for a starting role. My one concern is depth. Will Harrel return? Will Hankins and McNair be able to sub without TECH suffering a drop off? Will Cheeks still be a LB?
Thanks for reading. This is a pretty good place without all the hateful and belligerent banter. Welcome. I am pretty new here too.
Cobb, saying our best ILB is hurt and will not play most of next year is an overly negative take from the situation. First of all, the kid you are referring to, started one game for us. One single game. How is he best? Plus, we really don't know how fast he will return from surgery.My summary of this thread is:
-We lose arguably our best and most athletic LB
-Our best ILB is hurt and will not play most of next year
-Our most talented LB has been inconsistent
-A few other talented and highly regarded players have not performed up to their potential
Can someone tell me why everyone thinks this is going to be an improved group??
Cobb, saying our best ILB is hurt and will not play most of next year is an overly negative take from the situation. First of all, the kid you are referring to, started one game for us. One single game. How is he best? Plus, we really don't know how fast he will return from surgery.
Haven't people said that he won't be ready for the season because of his injury? And if he took the job from JHD, you could argue that he's our best guy. I'm just curious as to where all of the optimism with this group is coming from. I really like Davis but Hunt-days hasn't been spectacular. Nealy is solid but not a star. Who else can we depend at LB? I just hope someone emerges and Harrell is healthy. It's not gloom and doom by any means and I think we have some talent there but I'm not convinced were gonna be better next year.
We were 17 in yds/carry allowed. Was that all our seniors? Do scheme and underclassmen get no love?
Good thoughts.Jerry.The depth chart this year had Marcordes or McNair as the back up for Watts. It looks like McNair is a bit like Morgan Bailey and has problems staying healthy enough to get meaningful playing time. So I think we have a lot riding on Marcordes being able to fill in for Watts. There is always the possibility of one of the incoming freshmen players being able to contribute but that would be the exception and not the norm. We might see Paul Davis move over to man this spot. Nealy pretty much has the other outside backer position locked down. Hankins was shown as his backup but there seems to be some sort of problem with Hankins in the coaching staffs mind. I think it is critical that he gets whatever that is squared away and is able to participate more fully this coming season. JHD seemed a bit off last season for some reason. I was thinking he might be moved out to DE to try and replace Jeremiah in the pass rush role but with our limited depth we may be forced to keep him inside. If Harrell does come back strong, I think he is good enough to man the starting MLB role but that is in question until he demonstrates he is physically capable of playing full time. The other name that could come into the mix is Kyle Travis. Kyle has played some spot duty at linebacker and will be a senior next season. He is a big kid and he needs to step up. It's now or never for him. I agree that Chaz Cheeks will not figure into the mix here next year. He is a third or fourth string Defensive End currently and really has shown nothing to make you think he will compete for playing time.
So my assessment is that we are good but thin at this position. We need Marcordes to really be a force next season if we are going to be strong at this position. Right now my feeling is that Nealy, JHD and Davis will be the starters with Hankins, Harrell (if healthy) and Marcordes will be the second team. The wild cards here are the incoming freshmen and the ability of guys like Marcordes, Hankins, McNair and Travis to step up and play better in 2014.
Yeah, he was having a good camp. He went out for like a week which made him unavailable for one of the Spring Scrimmages. Paul Davis took the opportunity and ran away with it. It hasn't been really close between the two of them since that happened. Hopefully the competition will heat up this spring.seriously, what happened to Beau Hankins? i read that he was killing it during practices and scrimmages, then when the season i never heard or read his name again