Every day here at Your Best 11, we are counting down to the start of the regular season with our top 150 players for the 2012 season.
No. 83: Tom Wort, No. 21, Oklahoma, Linebacker
Tom Wort is an explosive ballplayer for the Sooners. He brings a load with him when he gets to the ball-carrier, and he is a power pack who blows up plays when he gets the opportunity. Watching him play is a lesson in fast-twitch and what a player can do when he is trained to explode to the football. He reacts quickly, closes to the ball well and brings the pain when he gets to the ball-carrier.
To go with his explosive play, Wort is an emotional presence on the field. While Tony Jefferson might be the leader of this Sooners' squad now that Travis Lewis is gone, Wort is the guy who sets the tone, gets the team excited and finds a way to make that impact play when they need it.
He's also capable in pass coverage. He's not the guy who will cover a slot receiver all over the field, but in zone coverage, he is as solid as any linebacker in the country. He reads the quarterback well and mirrors drops better than most linebackers.
Wort, for all of his explosive power, is still somewhat limited athletically. Pair that limitation in straight-line speed with poor reads on gambles at times, and he can run himself out of plays where he cannot get back into things. Luckily for OU fans, this is not something that Wort makes a habit of. He sticks to his keys and has good instincts.
After finishing as an honorable mention linebacker in the Big 12 a season ago, look for Wort to make his presence felt in 2012.
This year is going to be one of redemption for the Sooners defense. With Tony Jefferson and Tom Wort as the leaders and Mike Stoops back in Norman, there will be plenty to prove.
Wort's tackles should go up with the departure of Travis Lewis. As Stoops looks to get aggressive, look for more tackles for loss, and expect the rising junior to stay active in pass coverage. He'll be pretty successful this year if he can push 80 tackles and be a fixture in the pass game both behind the line of scrimmage and in coverage.