Reviewing the units: Linebackers

Posted: December 11, 2014 in Football

The linebackers had to adjust to the new system this year, moving to the 3-4 scheme. This meant the Bulls would have an extra linebacker in the front 7, giving them more options in pass coverage and on blitzing downs. The unit took time to adjust to the new scheme and with several young players stepping into starting roles, but it came together for them during the year. Let’s review the grades and see what everyone did this year.

Preseason grade: B

The grade was a B to start the year. The Bulls returned two starters, Reshard Cliett and Nigel Harris. Both were expected to be the anchors on the outside. The real question for the Bulls was with the two linebackers in the middle. The Bulls had a lot of youth with that part of the roster to start the year, but with talented incoming players like LeGrande Harley and redshirt freshman Auggie Sanchez, who emerged as a starter in the spring, the unit had a lot of promise to start the year. Let’s see how everyone did during the course of the year.

#4 Jimmy Bayes – 6’3″ 225 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#55 Josh Black – 6’2″ 228 lbs. – Freshman – 7 tackles, 1 sack

#56 Juwuan Brown – 6’2″ 230 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#52 Zack Bullock – 6’3″ 221 lbs. – Junior – 4 tackles

#16 Reshard Cliett – 6’3″221 lbs. – Senior – 38 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 6 sacks

#48 Ruben Garcia – 6′ 248 lbs. – Senior – 1 tackle

#29 CJ Garye – 6’3″ 228 lbs. – Junior – 6 tackles, 1 TFL

#54 LeGrande Harley – 6’1″ 230 lbs. – Junior – 23 tackles

#57 Nigel Harris – 6′ 220 lbs. – Sophomore – 75 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FR, 5 FF

#44 Nick Holman – 6’2″ 231 lbs. – Freshman – Did not play this year

#50 Hans Louis – 6′ 229 lbs. – Senior – Did not play this year

#43 Auggie Sanchez – 6’2″ 241 lbs. – Redshirt freshman – 64 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FR

#18 Rahmon Swain – 6′ 222 lbs. – Senior – 23 tackles

#51 Tashon Whitehurst – 6’3″ 225 lbs. – Junior – 49 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks

For the most part, the unit played well in 2014. Nigel Harris had a strong year on the outside. Auggie Sanchez emerged as a solid middle linebacker, making some splash plays in his first year starting. LeGrande Harley also played well. Tashon Whitehurst, after disappearing last year, played well. Reshard Cliett struggled with some injuries during the year, lowering his numbers. Newcomers like Josh Black also made their first appearance, showing a little flash of talent and what could be for the unit in the future.

Postseason grade: B

I think the grade stays right where I put them at before the year started. They didn’t get any better but they also didn’t get any worse. The veterans played well during the year, but there were mistakes. Missed tackles and assignments hurt the unit throughout the year. A lot of these errors were simply young players out of position and others trying to make plays on the field. We saw the veterans continue to produce like Nigel Harris. We saw young players develop like Auggie Sanchez. The unit has a lot of talent on it and moving forward in 2015, the will be a major strength of the defense.


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