Looking Ahead - Linebackers

LongforDodd

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1,798
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?

Good effort Drummond.

We'll miss Watts.

Great things are in still for Nealy next year, IMO.
 

4shotB

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Staff member
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2,205
Thanks for reading. This is a pretty good place without all the hateful and belligerent banter. Welcome. I am pretty new here too.

I have frequented the other sites for quite awhile. back in the day, there used to be intelligent discussion of fb on the hive. The other site is fun for messing around with the kids that go to Tech now. I really appreciate the analysis and on topic focus that this place appears to have. please keep it that way.

With that being said, I was and am concerned about our LB's. Some of them might look good getting off the bus or whatever, but we haven't had a real difference maker at that position since the Tenuta days. It seems like I can watch an entire game without hearing the name of an LB being called. From what I have seen, this position, at best, is so-so. We are desperately in need of a Lucious Sanford, Ted Roof, C.Tiggle, D.Smith type of impact player. we used to get a bunch of them.
 

gtg936g

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2,061
I really like our guys at LB. I think Davis has probably has the best instincts I have seen in a while. He makes up for size in good technique.

Harrell will hopefully make a full recovery, he is exciting to watch.

Marcordes might just show out next year. I think if he continues to improve he could be a really good player.
 

Whiskey_Clear

Banned
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10,487
Pretty much agree with everything you stated boomer. Depth and injuries are my only real concern for this group. Nealy is very solid and reliable. Marcordes, Davis, and JHB have tons of potential and are already good players for us IMO.
 

Boomergump

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Featured Member
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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.
 

CobbTech

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
286
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.
 

AE 87

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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?
 

Eric

Retired Co-Founder
Staff member
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Marcordes has really improved a lot...he played excellent on special teams this year. I am looking forward to him getting more snaps on defense.
 

Fatmike91

Ramblin' Wreck
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929
Thanks Boomer. I post here because you do.

Regarding a pass rush/blitz from our linebackers -- the guy I'd like to see active in the pass rush is Paul Davis. I hope CTR turns him loose. Why? Because he has instincts to be in the right spot, hit the right gap, etc. From what I've seen he will find a way to be disruptive (like that guy from BYU).


/
 

CobbTech

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
286
We were 17 in yds/carry allowed. Was that all our seniors? Do scheme and underclassmen get no love?

I get what you guys are saying and you might be right. I'm not saying we're going to be bad by any means and like I said, we have talent there. I'm just not sure yet if we're going to be that much better than we were this year.
 

Jerry the Jacket

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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.

Go Jackets!
 
Messages
154
Honestly, we need to forget about Harrell, for at least the first half of next year.

One Adrian Peterson doesn't mean that everyone will will come back from a serious knee injury in 9 months, we should be looking at a 12-15 month time frame for Harrell to get back to where we can think about him contributing.

RG-III thought the same thing and it ruined the Skins season this year.
 

alaguy

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1,117
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.

Go Jackets!
Good thoughts.Jerry.
This position is an prime example of how the recruiting has looked better than it turns out on field.Really by now this group on paper should DOMINATING.Nealy is solid,we thought JHD was going to be all-conf and between McNair /hankins and Harrell -we would be killing. But the fact is this group ,like others, is a question-mark.
Really- without Mr "Natural" Davis-the group looks right now average in playability esp for a team that needs very good LB play with the weak DL. Still there is potential-prob better than DL.
Keep an eye on K Freeman as True Fr-he has killer closing speed-either as OLB or DE.
 

UgaBlows

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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
 

PowderSpringsJacket88

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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
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.
 
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