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February 7, 2014
See where TCU's 2014 linebackers stand up to the rest of the Big 12
The linebacker position wasn't a major need for the Horned Frogs in the 2014 class. TCU brought in two last year and will return its top three from last year.
Even thought it wasn't a huge need, Gary Patterson loves good linebackers. He said during Wednesday's press conference that he could have grabbed a couple more.
But he did still find two linebackers to bring in for this year's class. Vinny Ascolese and Ty Summers make up the linebacker corps for the Frogs this year and they are a couple of interesting pieces.
Ascolese was somebody Patterson has had his eye on for a while. He had 303 tackles his senior year in New Jersey, but that was two years ago. He's a couple years older now and it will be interesting to see if he's lost any of that tackling fuel in the time. He never played junior college ball, so he's got four years of eligibility left to use at TCU.
Summers is a classic Patterson defensive recruit. Many of the top defensive players he's recruited in recent years started as running backs. Summers was a quarterback in high school and hasn't played defense in a couple years, but he's excited to get back on that side of the ball.
Where do these two linebackers stack up against the rest of the Big 12? Lets see.
1. Oklahoma State: Gyasi Akem, D'Nerius Antonie, Devante Averette, Justin Phillips and Josh Mabin
Let me get this out there first, I love Akem. I met him at a Rivals camp last year and he was an absolute monster. But it wasn't just his athleticism, he's crazy intelligent and will be a great player for OSU. The Cowboys will be trying to reload on defense this year and I think he could get immediate playing time.
Mabin is another monster. The linebacker from Spring is the No. 24 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 48 player in all of Texas. At six-foot-two 227 pounds, he's already got great size and has the ability to match it.
Phillips played well in the 5A state title game for Pearland against Allen, but nobody was stopping Kyler Murray last year. Phillips isn't as polished as Mabin, but you can see similar potential there.
Averette is a JUCO guy from Iowa and is a good mix of size, six-foot, 230 pounds and speed, he runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. Averette will likely be on the field when the Cowboys open their season.
OSU came to Texas to get Antoine from Trinity Valley JUCO. He's fast, runs a 4.4 40-yard dash time, but not sure if he's physical enough to handle Big 12 play.
2. Texas: Edwin Freeman, Andrew Beck, Cameron Hampton
Freeman is an Arlington native and had the Horned Frogs in his top three with Texas A&M and Texas. He was the first player to commit to UT after the Charlie Strong hire so they must have a great bond. Freeman is listed as a safety, but will likely play LB in college because he is just that athletic.
Texas' great recruiting reach allowed it to go to Florida and get three-star Beck. He was ranked as the No. 23 inside linebacker of the 2014 class and picked the Longhorns over Oklahoma and Florida State.
UT went more local to get Hampton. He's from Dallas and was picked as the No. 57 player in all of Texas for 2014. He may seem a little undersized at six-foot, 200 pounds, but he's got plenty of raw ability that will help.
3. Kansas State: Dvonta Derricott, Elijah Lee, Isaiah Riddle and Sam Sizelove
Derricott was a TCU interest for a long time, but he decided to stay in Kansas and will provide an immediate impact for the Wildcats. His six-foot-one, 230-pound frame will play well in KSU's physical defense.
Sizelove is a kid I saw at a Rivals camp last year and I really liked. I'm a little shocked he didn't stay closer to home with several Texas offers, including Baylor, but he will play well for KSU.
Lee made his decision pretty early last year as he committed to KSU back in March of 2013 and shut it down after that. The Missouri kid didn't even visit anywhere else.
Riddle is another JUCO guy from Arizona. Shouldn't be too shocked by that, Bill Snyder has made a seemingly eternal career off taking under valued JUCO guys and turning them into players. Riddle may be the next one.
4. Oklahoma: Tay Evans, Curtis Bolton and Devante Bond
The Sooners went out of state for three linebackers, including JUCO transfer Bond from California. Bond is six-foot-three, 240 pounds and isn't afraid of contact. He's got a chance to come in and play right away for Oklahoma.
Bolton is another California kid who is incredibly fast for his six-foot-two, 215-pound frame. His speed is his best attribute, but put a little more muscle on him and who knows.
Evans is from Allen and is solid. He's better against the run, but needs a little more development than the other two players.
5. TCU: Ascolese and Summers
I like both kids a lot, but they almost seem like projects to me. Summers will be valuable, but may take a little time to get readjusted to playing defense, especially Patterson's defense.
Ascolese hasn't played in a couple years, but he's been near the top of Patterson's watch list for longer than that and he knows far more about football than I'll ever dream to know.
6. West Virginia: Edward Muldrow and Xavier Preston
The Mountaineers haven't had a great defense in a while, but they hope Muldrow can help get better. He's got good size, but doesn't have good speed. His 4.7 40-time could be a little concerning, but he was a JUCO player and has been on campus for a couple months now. Maybe that has improved.
Preston was a highly coveted LB out of Florida and had 16 offers, but not from any of the big Florida schools. His biggest offers were from Louisville and WVU. He's an interesting player and has good size, but how soon can he make an impact?
7. Baylor: Grant Campbell and Jamie Jacobs
The Bears should have been higher, but they are having trouble with a pair of linebackers and haven't signed their NLIs yet.
Campbell is an interesting pick up out of Bakersfield JUCO in California. At six-foot-one, 230 pounds, he's got decent size and seems to be an aggressive tackler, which is something the Bears will need this year.
Jacobs decided to stay close to home and stay in Waco. At six-foot-four, 215 pounds he's got good speed and runs a 4.5 40, so he will be an interesting name to watch. He only had offers from Houston, Oregon State and SMU, but that may have been because schools knew he wasn't leaving the friendly confines of Waco.
8. Kansas: Josh Ehambe and Kyron Washington
Washington is a big get for the Jayhawks as they have floundered near the bottom in the Big 12 for the last several years. He held a TCU offer as well as offers from Michign and Cal. He was the No. 22 inside linebacker last year according to Rivals and could very well play right away for the Jayhawks.
Ehambe is a Prime Prep kid that I figured was going to go to SMU when it was all said and done, but all it took was one visit to Kansas and he fell in love and decided to stay there.
9. Iowa State: Sam Seonbuchner, Willie Harvey and Jordan Harris
Seonbuchner is the biggest playmaker in this group, but it's only ranked ahead of Tech because of volume. He picked the Cyclones over Ohio, Pitt, Ball State and Bowling Green. At six-foot-two, 222 pounds, he's got good size and will likely play early in what is actually a surprisingly strong ISU defense.
Harris is a bit undersized, but does have the extra value of being a JUCO player and is already on campus. He will likely be an immediate impact guy.
Like Harris, Harvey may be a little undersized and ISU was his only BCS offer. The Cyclones beat out Marshall, UTSA and Southern Miss for his services.
10. Texas Tech: Dakota Allen
This isn't a knock on Allen, it's more of a knock on just one Allen. He's a great player and will do great things for the Red Raiders, but the seemingly always offensive minded Raiders only brought in Allen. He will be solid and do great thinks out in Lubbock, it's just tough to rank someone higher if it's just one player. Allen actually was down to just TCU and Tech when he made his decision back in August.