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After the year that both Hodges and Michael Mauti had this season, the fact that they are leaving may cause some to think that linebacker will be Penn State’s weakest position next season.
But it is not the Lions’ biggest weak spot.
It’s no secret that Penn State will be missing the 204 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five interceptions and five forced fumbles that Hodges and Mauti produced.
But replacing them might be easier than it seems.
Glenn Carson, the team’s third leading tackler, will be returning at inside linebacker, and Mike Hull, the team’s sixth leading tackler, will be stepping up into a spot at outside linebacker.
Both players are experienced, athletic linebackers. The big question will be who fills the third linebacker spot.
O’Brien will have a number of talented young players to pick from, but Ben Kline and Nyeem Wartman are both players that have a good shot at starting.
Kline and Wartman will be sophomores next season, and both only had limited action at linebacker in 2012.
Although Carson and Hull should make the transition away from Hodges and Mauti easier for Penn State, the loss of these two dynamic players will hurt the Nittany Lion defense.