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Grading the Class: Linebackers

Player Year
Khalil Mack R-So.
Shaquille Dudley R-So.
Lee Skinner So.
Colby Way So.
Ray Anthony Long R-Jr.
Dalonte Wallace Jr.
Mark Richardson Jr.
Josh Copeland Sr.
John Syty Sr.
Scott Pettigrew Sr.
Fred Branch Sr.
Imani Chatman Sr

UB started last spring with an almost embarrassing number of good linebackers. Between transfers and injuries those numbers did thin out a bit. Factor in the graduation of Justin Winters and Raphael Akobundu and suddenly there are a few question poping up in a group.

The Bulls should be pretty well set in terms of depth this season. UB is returning 11 linebackers in a class thats nearly as senior heavey as last seasons defensive backs.

In addition to Sophomore Standout Khalil Mack UB has two other returning starters and Scott Pettigrew who would have been a starter last season had he not been injured in the off seasons.

There is a lot of reason to think that this years linebackers will be at least a match for last years unit. Losing winters will be difficult. Replacing him both as a player and a leader will likely fall on Pettigrew.

But aside from winters this line comes into 2010 as a more experienced unit.

The real concern is what happens in 2012.

Aside from the impending Mayan apocalypse the only other thing that keeps me up at night is losing five senior linebackers at the end of this season. The bulk of UB's minutes on the field will be moving on after this season, they need to be replaced now.

So how did UB do with Linebackers?

The Need:

Deceptively dire! As I eluded to earlier UB will go into 2012 with only seven Juniors and Seniors. While you could wait until this year to shore up the numbers you would deprive yourself of one years worth of conditioning and training.

The Players:

Brandon Tammaro:

An amazing HS lineman who might be a bit of an 'undersized' prospect for a division one line. Tammaro has great pursuit and is a fundamentally a very solid tackler.  At 225 Tammaro has a good linebacker build but that might be a waste of his talents.

As a lineman he may not be big enough to see the field this year but if you throw him in as a linebacker the chances will see decent time this season increase dramatically.

Tammaro was first team all state and the 23rd rated player in Michigan (By ESPN) He was also selected for All-Detroit Metro and All-County after recording 58 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups in his senior season..

179294_1621725618092_1084999598_31345486_6625366_n_mediumKhari Brown:

As a Senior Brown talied 130 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, four sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. This all added up to Brown being one of the top 75 linebackers in the nation this year (according to ESPN).

Brown is a big, athletic, and fast linebacker. He won't be running down wide receivers if they break free but aside from that he will beable to keep up with any play.

He also demonstrates an ability to flow through traffic to make playes in the backfield. In a 3-4, at the Mike position, his issues with pass coverage should not be too much of a problem but it is something he may need to work on.

This fits really well into the loss of Winters and with a wide open 2012 field for linebacker there is little doubt Brown will get serious minutes in two years, if not this season.

Overall position grade: B

With Tammaro as a linebacker this class meets the minimum needs. Two to four per year is pretty much a must have when you are running a four linebacker set. Losing five next season only increses the need.

The Quality of the recruits is huge its the quantity I am a bit leery of.