looking at roster distribution numbers for next year, we are woefully thin at linebacker. i would think that might be an area of emphasis in our recruiting class next year.
have we offered any linebackers for the 2020 class yet, if so, who are they? how many do we plan to sign at this position next year.
with the evolution of spread offenses, might there be less of a need for true linebackers in todays game? maybe 2 big run stuffers in the middle and a hybrid linebacker on the outside? with one just transferring, batiste i think, and one i think recently got in severe legal trouble, we are a bit thin i think, but thats why im asking.
We have struggled at LB position for forever, depth & talent wise.
Secondary as well,
If either of those areas are really strong, can help compensate the others weaknesses. We haven’t had that luxury in the past.
I don’t know if it was so much evaluation as being able to get in the guys you could. Outside of Pool, who was the last 4* LB we got to campus? Most 3* are 50/50 propositions on whether they’ll make a significant contribution or not.
Arkansas has struggled more at LB than anywhere else in finding SEC-type players. That goes back to year one.
We have been either too slow or too small, consistently. We have relied on “diamond in the roughs” who get coached up or blossom once in a college S/T program. The best LB prospect before Scoota and Bumper that I recall is Freddie Fairchild whose issues caused him to be purged during the Petrino era. Had another from Houston (Tyrell Graham) who got crosswise with Reggie Herring and left the program early. Jeb Huckeba and Mark Smith are examples of good but not great options. Butu was too small but played bigger and faster than his listed size. Bua was more of an undersized safety who played the hybrid position, not unlike Jerico Nelson and Ross Rasner under Petrino.
Walker played well on special teams but has proven to not be a special player off-the-field. Unofficially gone, but I bet he doesn’t return. Baptiste and LaFrance are examples of Bielema trying to bulk up the LB corps and instead landing undersized DEs. Ramsey made it as a rush DE but he would fit the bill as well. Henry and Morgan are useful special teams guys but that’s as far as they can contribute, but even there we need to see speed upgraded enough that they aren’t an option. They are smart which has helped them get playing time when transitioning systems.
Again, I think I can point out high-end SEC players at every position more easily than I can point out high-end SEC LBs. Count me in on landing at least one more, and even using one of the remaining uncommitted slots for a second LB (ie, two more besides Zimos).
I had to go back and look up Jerry Franklin’s recruiting. He was class of 2007 out of Marion. One page says he was recruited as a DB. Another says he was recruited as an Inside LB. He was a Freshman All-American and what I use as my model for an Arkansas LB in the modern era. I believe he led the team in tackles all four years he played. He just had a nose for the ball and the burst of speed and size to create havoc when needed. I was in Nashville when he recovered a fumble in the 4th quarter and ran it back about 90 yards for a TD. He literally saved that game with that one play.