I have to tell you - I am really excited about our linebacking corp this year! Even with the loss of Cam Lawrence, I think this unit will be improved and is one to watch for the Bulldogs in 2013.
Deontae Skinner is a guy, at 6'-2" 250 that can roam the middle but also put his hand in the dirt. I'm really high on him, probably more than others. I think he's got an NFL future and will have an excellent senior year moving over from the weak side.
All indications are that Beniquez Brown looks great as a redshirt freshman, and should provide excellent backup for Skinner. He was a highly touted recruit, a consensus 4-star out of Florence, AL. He will need to step in early after Chris Hughes was dismissed in the summer moving him up from the 3rd string.
Incoming freshman Dezmond Harris will man the third team. I don't expect him to play, getting a redshirt this fall.
Benardrick McKinney is a name that if you didn't know this time last year, you do now. He has gone from 2-star prospect to Freshman All-American to potential All-SEC player in 2013 if he has the kind of year we expect as a sophomore. 6'-5" 235 and a gifted athlete. He will be fun to watch.
Ferlando Bohanna will be one of the best backup linebackers in the SEC. He is pushing McKinney every day in practice and even though he is 2nd string to a great player, he isn't too far behind.
Redshirt freshman Richie Brown will get his first taste of playing time this year. The future is bright for this kid, making MLB a ridiculous group.
Matthew Wells has been chomping at the bit the last two years and he will finally get his chance to be a full time starter in 2013. He has made 6 career starts so this won't be a new thing, and he'll be all over the place with his athleticism.
Zach Jackson is a name not too many are familiar with as he's been relatively quiet coming up. He'll be a sophomore backing up Wells. He's a good player, a 3-star out of high school who is another LB/safety hybrid.
DeAndre Ward or Ivan Muniz hit the 3rd string as walk-ons.
It seems like every unit for the Bulldogs is young, but this one also has experience. There are 37 starts between Wells, McKinney and Skinner who will man the 1st string. And the 2nd string is pretty stout as well with Brown, Bohanna and Jackson.
Geoff Collins has produced solid LB after solid LB, so I am looking for more of the same. This group has all the makings of a big time unit.