No. 117: Kevin Reddick, No. 48, North Carolina, Linebacker
While his teammates have passed on to the next level, Kevin Reddick has remained a Tar Heel to usher in the start of the Larry Fedora era at North Carolina. Reddick has been a consistent in all of the adversary in Chapel Hill, as the middle linebacker has been a solid player for the Tar Heels in the past three seasons. He doesn't have the flash of his former teammate, Zach Brown, but the rising senior is as close to a sure thing at the linebacker spot as the Tar Heels have had since Mark Paschal.
The kid is a pure linebacker. He sifts through the wash. He reads his keys. He plays downhill. He makes sound tackles. At the linebacker position, Reddick does everything that you are looking for out of a quality player. Unlike his much-heralded former linebacker teammate, Zach Brown, Reddick does not rely solely on athleticism to get things done. He's a rules football player that found his way on the field early by doing the right things and never came off.
However, unlike his predecessor, Mark Paschal, there is some top-level athleticism about Reddick. He's fast, sideline to sideline, not just in the downhill, run-forcing sets. That gives him the ability to be effective in coverage and to track action to the edge for the tackle.
North Carolina is switching to a hybrid 3-3-5/4-2-5 defense this season as Dan Disch and Vic Koenning attempt to mesh their styles and personalities together. To say this is going to be an experiment is an understatement. Reddick, technique-wise and physically, is ready to have another standout season as the Tar Heels middle linebacker.
Unfortunately, in the new Heels' scheme, he is going to be asked to do a lot of things differently than in previous years. He loses the two big bodies in the middle that protected him from guards and centers. He also will be running more side to side as the Heels look to bring pressure from multiple areas, exposing voids.
Reddick should lead the new look Tar Heels defense in 2012 in every way. Expect him to set the pace in tackles and make a push to getting on to the All-ACC team at the linebacker position. There will most certainly be issues when it comes to adjusting to the defender, but given North Carolina's new style of play offensively, the defense will have ample time to get used to being on the field. Reddick's tackle numbers should go up this season with the loss of Zach Brown; look for the rising senior to push the 90 tackles mark this year.