This is a discussion on Article: Linebacker: Georgia Tech's Outlook For Next Year within the Georgia Tech Football forums, part of the Georgia Tech Sports Message Boards category; At the close of the 2011 season I felt pretty good about the LBs we had returning. Then we got ...
At the close of the 2011 season I felt pretty good about the LBs we had returning. Then we got the news about Burnett's neck injury making his return questionable. Now I am not so sure. What do you all think?
Gone: Steven Sylvester - 3 year starter (if I am correct) who has been a great ambassador for the program. Steven showed potential early in his career but never really became a force in CAG's scheme. He lacked elite pass rushing skills and body type for the position and often had a difficult time defeating blocks when defending the run. I would characterize him as an adequate fill in until CAG found the right guys to fill that role. I will miss him because he was a great kid who played hard and represented the school well.
Back: Daniel Drummond rsJR- just completed his first year of play. Truthfully, despite his time with the program, he looked like a first year player out there. He was hyped harder than any defensive player in recent times and just didn't deliver as expected. Daniel looked most comfortable filling gaps straight ahead when defending the run. He used his size and strength well in this regard. However, he lacked fluidity in his hips and had a difficult time covering receivers or making tackles in space. His linear speed is good enough for the position but his lateral agility is lacking.
Jeremiah Attaochu JR - Just finished his second year on the flats, first as a full time starter. Jeremiah has progressed well and, frankly, finds himself on the cusp of being an elite player at the OLB position. He has 'plus' pass rushing ability, agility, and speed and he likes to hit when he gets there. At times his aggressive instincts worked against him and he found himself out of position or making dumb costly penalties. Word is he is a high character kid who works his butt off. Hopefully this will be the year that his knowledge and experience compliments his physical abilities and we see a true all american type player emerge.
Qwayshawn Nealy rsJR - Just completed his second year on the flats, his first as a part time starter. Nealy has good speed for the position and is agile enough to tackle well in space. He is pretty good in coverage but lacks the raw power to stuff the run convincingly. He was most impressive when running ball carriers down and less so when meeting them head on. The experience he has gotten should benefit him greatly in the upcoming season.
B.J. Machen rsSR - B.J. has been a second stringer for the entirety of his career.
Nick Menocal SO - Nick played sparingly on defense this season as a fill in when others were out for injury. Despite his lack of time in the system he did an adequate job when called upon. He appears to be an emotional spark plug type of player. He lacks elite tools but has a toughness about him that could minimize his limitations.
New Kids on the Block: Chaz Cheeks rsFR, Jabari Hunt Days rsFR, Tremayne McNair rsFR, Tyler Macordes rsFR. There were some other names on the roster who I did not recognize.
With Burnett in limbo, it appears that the rock of stability may actually become an area of major concern. Are any of the young guns ready to step in and make a statement? What say you?
By the way, I intentionally left out the new signees. Do any of them figure to compete this early?
;-) We'll see.
Pure speculation here but I think Burnett's return is doubtful. Hate that cause I love the kid and the way he plays. Hope I'm wrong because he's our best on D and will be sorely missed.
Not to take anything away from Julian Burnett, that guy is just "football player" personified, but due to his size and limited athleticism he was caught in "the wash" a lot when the offensive guards made it to the second level. Our middle linebackers had a hard time covering the middle zones when they were called to cover crossing routes or tight ends coming down the middle.
I REALLY like Tremayne McNair and Jabari Hunt-Day's potential. Nick Menocal played some limited minutes last season on obvious passing downs, and he showed flashes of being a really good player. The 2011 class of LBs will be a special group. If you want to see what all the fuss of the 34 defense is about, wait until the 2011 class of LBs put it together. Those guys are big, athletic, and can RUN. GT fans tend to forget about guys when they redshirt (Vad Lee not included), but the LB group of 2011 is as talented of a position group as GT has ever recruited...in my opinion. I believe you'll start seeing the intricacies and flexibilities of the 34 come out with this group of linebackers. Get ready to see some opposing QBs helped off the field...it's going to be nightmare for the opposition once these LBs get their feet wet.
Jabari picked up a lot of steam when we signed him, but since he redshirted his name has faded away. I think it's time for him to make a statement again. I hope Burnett comes back, but if he doesn't, I think we've certainly got people ready and willing to try to fill his shoes.
Thanks for that, Boomer. If Burnett does not return, it hurts. But this is the third year of the 3-4, which Groh said is required to install it, so some of these LBs better step up if in fact the 3-4 is designed to clear the tackles for them. I'm just excited about the coming season and our recruiting class in general.
It is going to be interesting. Ultimately, we are going to need to upgrade the OLB across from Attaochu. Having another elite pass rusher who can also cover and tackle in space will do wonders for the D. We could probably live with Nealy and Drummond in the middle but I am hoping for the bar to get raised there too. I want a guy in the middle along side Nealy with the heart and tackling ability of Burnett, but the size and agility to be able to knock some passes down over the middle as well. I hear good things about the red shirts but I have never seen them in person. Hopefully they are as good as advertised.
You left out a few guys. At outside linebacker, Brandon Watts is the heir apparent to Sylvester. Brandon has shown flashes of brilliance and like Jeremiah he just needs to sustain the effort over an entire game. We also have Malcolm Monroe who saw some spot playing time at OLB. A guy that might factor in next year is Kyle Travis who played a lot of special teams but has a good motor and great size to play OLB. I would position Marcodes and Cheeks as other possiblilities outside.
I think Julian will be OK. Remember he has a redshirt year if he needs it to get over his injury, but just knowing his personal toughness, unless the doctors tell him he is risking paralysis, I look for him to return. I think Nealy has shown he is a player and will probably get the other starting spot. Behind those two we have a ton of possiblilities starting with Drummond and followed by McNair, Hunt Days and Harrell. Machen is graduating and will not return for next season. In looking at the size and speed of Stargel and Hankins, I think both will get a serious look this fall. I hope Hunt-Days emerges to be the type of player we thought he would be.
I think there is a real possiblity that Synjyn Days could be moved to Outside Linebacker if there is too big a log jam on offense. He has the size and athletic ability to play defense.
In any event, we have a lot of possibilities but basically need to find the 4 meanest SOB's among this group and feed them some raw meat and tell them to go out their and kick somebody's ass.
For some reason, I must have confused Malcolm Munroe with Machen. I thought he was the guy not coming back. Thanks for the correction.
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