It only takes a quick glance at the list of players selected in the 2012 NFL draft to realize that college football lost some really special linebackers this offseason.
Gone are tackling-machines like Boston College’s Luke Kuechly and Nebraska’s Lavonte David, as well as Alabama’s nightmare duo of Courtney Upshaw and Dont’a Hightower.
Miami’s defense won’t be the same without Sean Spence, and the same goes for Texas’ defense without Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho.
The good news is, there’s a whole new crop of great linebacking talent that fans should get excited about. The group is led by two proven stars, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, who both passed up the chance to be high draft picks this year in order to return to school for another season.
Te’o and Jones are two of the topflight talents in the country, but they won’t be the only linebackers that'll be making some serious noise this season.
Here’s an early look at college football’s Top 50 linebackers for 2012.