The linebacker position began the season as a huge weakness, but it improved as the season wore on. Donnie Baggs, Steven Jenkins and Tommy Sanders were expected to be the starters at the beginning of the season.
A suspension kept Jenkins out for the first two games of the year. Baggs was a complete non-factor at middle linebacker and was eventually moved back to his natural position outside.
The Aggie linebacker unit was undersized as a group. Sanders and Jenkins look more like SEC safeties than linebackers. The Aggies need to get bigger at the position in 2014.
True freshman Darian Claiborne took over in the middle for Baggs and developed into the second-best defender on the team behind defensive back Deshazor Everett. Claiborne has exceptional instincts and currently is tied for the team lead with 89 total tackles.
Shaan Washington was another true freshman who saw action in 2013. He backed up Baggs on the strong side and ended the season with 25 tackles and three sacks.
Washington is one of the Aggies' bigger linebackers. He will add some more muscle to his 6'3", 220-pound frame and will be a big part of the Aggies' linebacker corps going forward.
With Jenkins graduating, the weak side position will be open. If Tommy Sanders can add significant weight, then he may end up the starter there. Brett Wade spent the 2013 season redshirting, and he will be a factor there also.
In 2014, Claiborne will start the season as the starting middle linebacker. Freshman Brett Wade will back him up in the middle. Washington will be the starter on the strong side. Baggs will be the second-team linebacker behind Washington.
On the weak side you will see Wade get the start against South Carolina. Do not be surprised if Sanders starts games against passing teams like Missouri. If 2014 recruit Hoza Scott qualifies, he will be the starting weak-side linebacker by season's end.