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Season Preview: Linebackers

Finally, we continue with this sometimes entertaining preview of the Kansas Jayhawks. Today, we look at what is quite possibly the best unit on our defense. It is also one of the deepest parts of our team, with 4 linebackers having legitimate claims to starting positions, meaning competition has been at the utmost during fall practice.

Last Season
Under Mark Mangino, Kansas is quickly gaining the reputation of a run-stuffing defense. Some evidence of that was our 28th place finish in all of college football last year, giving up a fairly paltry 108.9 yards a game. A big factor in that is the linebacking corps, if not the biggest, which as produced some major talents including current Kansas City Chief Nick Reid. Last season the linebackers were led by juniors Joe Mortensen, who was second on the team in tackles with 82, and Mike Rivera who was the team leder in tackles with 90. The last spot was one of many names, Artist Wright started 4 games along with a couple others.

Returing Players
Besides the aformentioned starters, reserve LBs Jake Schermer and James Holt both figure to receive plenty of playing time as well.

Incoming Players
The already deep linebacking corps has two newcomers this season, recruits Justin Springer and Drew Dudley. Neither figures to be a major player this season playing time-wise, but both are being groomed to start in the near future, possibly as quickly as next season depending on the futures of Joe Mortensen and Mike Rivera.

Outside Linebacker Depth Chart
1) Joe Mortensen, Jr. and Artist Wright, Soph.
2) James Holt, Jr.
3) Jake Schermer, Soph.

Inside Linebacker Depth Chart
1) Mike Rivera, Jr. 2) Joe Mortensen, Jr. 3) Drew Dudley, Fr. 4) Justin Springer, Fr.

Next Up: Defensive Linemen

NOTE: A little late, but I just wanted to let you know where this information is coming from. Little is coming directly from my recollection, I only watched the 3 or 4 games that were on TV last year living way out here in California. The rest of the games I only lightly followed, I am much more interested in the basketball program I must admit, so the 'Last Season' sections could be less-than-stellar. I have all intentions of following each and every game closely this upcoming season, so my knowledge of certain players will rise with each game but to start out I will be rusty. Just a bit of forewarning...

ROCK CHALK!