Inside Look: Linebacker

As A&M enters the offseason, there are several factors that will shape how this team will look next year; departing juniors and seniors, incoming recruits, and returning starters. We will highlight each defensive position group leading up to National Signing Day. Click here if you want to view the Defensive Line post.

Ever since the end of the 2012 season and the departures of seniors Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart, the Aggies have been hurting at the linebacker position; both literally and figuratively. Often plagued by injuries with little to no depth, the linebacking corps has turned to underprepared underclassman in hopes of solving these woes.

LB - Recruiting

LB - Scholarships
Key

Departing Starters/Major Contributors
LB Donnie Baggs (Graduated)
LB Tommy Sanders (Graduated)
LB Justin Bass (Graduated)

Returning Starters/Major Contributors
LB A.J. Hilliard (Junior)
LB Shaan Washington (Junior)
LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Junior)
LB Josh Walker (Sophomore)
LB Otaro Alaka (Sophomore)

Redshirted Players
None

Current Commits
LB Claude George (3-star recruit)
LB Richard Moore (4-star recruit)
LB Landis Durham (3-star recruit)
LB Riley Garner (3-star recruit)
LB Dwaine Thomas (3-star recruit)

Prospective Recruits
LB Roquan Smith (4-star recruit)

Way too early projected starters
LB A.J. Hilliard (Junior)
LB Josh Walker (Sophomore)
LB Otaro Alaka (Sophomore)

While the Aggies lose three contributors to graduation, none were starters. The linebacker corps has a chance to be both solid and deep for the first time in several years. Both Hilliard and Walker will return from injuries and should return to the starting lineup. Alaka played well enough down the stretch that a starting spot is his to lose. Meanwhile, Shaan Washington and incoming JUCO transfer Claude George will both be able to provide solid depth.

Recruiting wise, the Aggies have 5 linebacker commits for the 2015 class. However, the numbers may be thinner than they first appear. Riley Garner missed his senior season due to an off-field injury. While he has been medically cleared to play, there is uncertainty as to how much he might be able to contribute in the future. In addition, Landis Durham could be brought on as a defensive end instead of linebacker where many believe is his more natural position. Regardless, the Aggies are bringing in plenty of bodies that can help fill out the depth chart and even give the coaching staff a chance to redshirt.

In addition to the 5 already committed, the coaching staff is in play for one more recruit. Consensus top 100 recruit, Roquan Smith, is visiting the Aggies this weekend. From Georgia, most expect him to pick the Bulldogs come signing day. However, getting him on campus is huge and could go a long way in the Ags getting another impact player at outside linebacker.

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