2013 was a solid year for linebacker play, featuring players across the nation who filled the spectrum of what coaches were looking for from the position. There were outstanding pass-rushers, guys who played downhill to make big impacts and versatile athletes who could do a little bit of everything.
As Anthony Barr of UCLA, C.J. Mosley from Alabama and Chris Borland from Wisconsin transition to the next level, the time comes to take a look at who will rise up to fill the void. Plenty of athletes showed promise a season ago, and now, in 2014, expect the linebacker position to be filled with another crop of elite players.
Here is a look at some of the top returners at the position, players that will have big impacts for their team in 2014, in alphabetical order.