Season Preview: Linebackers

2010 in Review: The Horns’ linebacking corps was one of the few bright spots of this past season. Linebackers Keenan Robinson (113) and Emmanuel Acho (87) led the team in tackles and accounted for six (three interceptions, three fumble recoveries) of the team’s 17 takeaways. Highly-touted freshman Jordan Hicks, who must look like the smartest man on the planet after passing up Ohio State to attend school at the 40 acres, played all 12 games on special teams and logged eight games at linebacker. Jared Norton and Dustin Earnest, who also logged time in as starters, graduated and exhausted their eligibility.

Key Returner: It’s difficult to separate Robinson and Acho because they are so similar and equally as important to the unit. Which is why the key returner will be known as RobCho. If RobCho can stay healthy, the linebacking corps will again be one of the Longhorns’ greatest strengths.

Player to Watch: It would be easy to say Hicks, a five-star recruit coming out of high school with tremendous upside, but one name that has intrigued coaches this fall has been sophomore Demarco Cobbs. The converted safety appeared in all 12 games last season on special teams, including one at defensive back, and recorded five tackles. Not much, but with his speed and coverage abilities he adds a versatile option to defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s blitz schemes. Junior Dravannti Johnson could also make an impact with the linebackers, although most of the time will be spent with his hand on the ground terrorizing QB’s at the defensive end position.

For the Linebackers to be successful, they need to … stay healthy. The linebacking unit is deep with talent, but not experience. Other than RobCho, Hicks and Johnson, no other Texas linebacker has logged game time at the position. The Horns will rely heavily on the leadership and experience that RobCho provides. An injury to either one of them would be a devastating blow. Hicks missed time in the spring with a broken bone in his right foot, which required surgery, but he should be healthy by the opener.

2 Comments

  1. jeffspeck says:

    I agree with you 100% about the key to their success is RobCho staying healthy.. Hopefully Texas will be able to get up in some of their pre-conference games and get some of these younger guys some playing time and experience… I am excited to watch how this unit comes together this year I think they have the opportunity to be a high point of our squad this year.

  2. petevincent says:

    Recruitocosm has opined that this year’s linebacker corps may be the most talented of the Mack Brown era. Bold statement, not sure I doubt it.

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