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One of the strongest areas for the Georgia Bulldogs this year, in my opinion, will be their talented group of linebackers. Jarvis Jones, former USC Trojan, has come back home to Georgia after a neck injury sidelined him at Southern California two years ago. He was considered one of the top recruits in the country coming out of high school and he has a tremendous head for the game of football. During his freshman campaign at USC in 2009, Jones racked up 13 total tackles playing limited duty in only five games. Jarvis should have a huge first year at Georgia and put up very impressive numbers in Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense.
Jarvis is just one reason the Bulldog's linebacker core will be much improved this year. Another huge newcomer to the linebacker unit will be sophomore Alec Ogletree. Ogletree was a starting safety for the Bulldogs last year, and he was tremendous considering it was his first year in the 3-4 defense and in college football.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham moved Alec to linebacker this spring because he saw that Alec would be more of a "force" at linebacker. After watching the G-Day spring game, it was obvious that coach Grantham made the right decision. Ogletree was all over the field making forceful tackles, much like he will this fall.
Other linebackers who will have a huge impact on the Bulldog's defense include Christian Robinson, Richard Samuel and Cornelius Washington. Robinson was an excellent player for the Bulldogs last year, playing in 12 games and compiling 41 total tackles and two sacks. Washington was also very good in the games he played in, compiling 23 tackles, seven of which came against SEC East foe South Carolina.
Samuel is a beast of a specimen, measuring in at 6'2", 234 pounds. Richard Samuel was a 5-star linebacker recruit coming out of Cartersville, Georgia. After a stint at running back, Samuel is back home at linebacker in 2011. I expect Samuel to compete for a starting job in the fall and hopefully win one of the starting spots. Samuel can hit hard and cover well, and once he gets comfortable in this system, he could be a force for the Dawg's defense.