INDIANA FOOTBALL PREVIEW...LINEBACKERS
August 1, 2011Eastern Indiana Sports
Fall camp gets started a week from today for new coach Kevin Wilson and his Indiana football team. Peegs.com continues our examination of every position on the roster as we take a closer look at the linebackers, which is a group where IU returns two very productive players from last year.
Jeff Thomas (Sr) (6'1, 244) - 82 Tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2 Int., 1 Sack
Leon Beckum (Sr) (5'11, 215) - 69 Tackles, 9 TFL, 3 Sacks
Chad Sherer (Jr) (6'0, 221) - 25 Tackles
Brandon McGhee (Sr) (6'1, 235) - 14 Tackles
Griffen Dahlstrom (So) (6'3, 221) - 6 Tackles
Lee Rose (Jr) (6'1, 224) - 4 Tackles
Dimitrius Carr-Watson (So) (6'1, 229) - 3 Tackles
Chase Hoobler (Fr) (6'2, 221)
Ishmael Thomas (Fr) (6'4, 215)
Matt Zakrzewski (Fr) (6'2, 230)
Tyler Replogle - 87 Tackles, 6 TFL
Jamie Lukaszewski - 12 tackles
Damon Sims - 9 Tackles
Kyle Kennedy (Fr) (6'3, 220)
Mike Replogle (Fr) (6'1, 225)
Zack Shaw (Fr) (6'3, 225)
NOTES: Indiana's only loss of significance at linebacker was Tyler Replogle. The Ohio native led the Hoosiers in tackles last season with 87, and he finished his career with more than 200 total tackles. The other losses at linebacker were Damon Sims and Jamie Lukaszewski. Sims decided to leave the program after the coaching change, and Lukaszewski was a walk-on who played primarily on special teams.
The returning starters for IU are seniors Jeff Thomas and Leon Beckum. Thomas was a junior college transfer last year and he made a big impact. He started the last eight games at middle linebacker and he finished second on the team with 82 tackles. Beckum is a former walk-on who played mainly at outside linebacker and he finished tied for third on the team with 69 tackles, and he led the team in tackles for loss with nine.
There are several returning players at linebacker who will provide depth at all three spots. Senior Brandon McGhee and junior Chad Sherer got some playing time last year and combined to make 39 tackles. Griffen Dahlstrom, Lee Rose and Dimitrius Carr-Watson saw action primarily on special teams last fall. Other returning players are redshirt freshmen Chase Hoobler, Ishmael Thomas and Matt Zakrzewski. Hoobler looked like a guy last fall that was ready to play as a true freshman, and in the spring he appeared to be the favorite to be the third starting linebacker for the defense joining Thomas and Beckum. Thomas has a good deal of ability, but he needs to add size and strength. Zakrzewski actually spent some time at running back in the spring due to the shortage of bodies at that spot, but the guess is he will be back at linebacker for the 2011 season.
The Hoosiers brought in a strong group of linebackers in Kyle Kennedy from Indiana to go along with Mike Replogle and Zack Shaw from Ohio. Shaw is the headliner as he was a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and the highest rated commit in the IU recruiting class. He had a tremendous prep career at Coshocton H.S. as he finished with 450 career tackles. He is a guy that has a very good chance of playing this season as a true freshman. Replogle is the younger brother of former IU linebacker Tyler Replogle and current IU defensive tackle Adam Replogle. He is like his brothers in that he plays the game extremely hard and with a certain level of toughness. He played at Centerville H.S., which is one of the best prep football programs in the Midwest. Replogle recorded 100 tackles and 12 tackles for loss as a senior. Like Replogle, Kennedy also comes from a very successful program. The Indianapolis native played his high school football at Cathedral. He played on two state championship teams, and another team that missed playing for a state title by one game. The safe bet is that Kennedy and Replogle spend this first year as redshirts to get bigger and stronger, but with a new staff they have a chance to play early if they have a good camp.