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Ohio Football Spring Practice Position Spotlight - Linebackers

Ohio Football Spring Practice Position Spotlight - Linebackers

Gone: Cody Grilliot, Chad Moore, Quentin Poling 

Returning: Marcus Brunson, Austin Clack, Dylan Conner, Evan Croutch, Jared Dorsa, Tyler Gullett, Griffin Hites, James Leyden, Eric Popp, James Leyden

Arriving: Bryce Houston, Jack McCrory, Keye Thompson

Analysis

The Ohio linebacking corps has some big shoes to fill after losing first team All-MAC performer Quentin Poling and second team All-MAC selection Chad Moore, two of its three starters, to graduation this offseason. The Bobcats also lost its top backup at the position Cody Grilliot who appeared in nine games after suffering an injury in 2017.

Thankfully, Ohio does return starter Evan Croutch, who had a solid junior campaign. Croutch was fourth in tackles last season behind Poling, Moore and safety Javon Hagan, racking up 70 total and 39 solo stops. Croutch also had six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Dylan Conner and Eric Popp also both saw extensive action in 2017 each making 17 tackles while Austin Clack, Jared Dorsa and Marcus Brunson also played a significant amount.

Griffin Hites, James Leyden and T.J. Robinson round out the group. Leyden and Robinson are coming off their red shirt year and will be looking to work into the rotation.

New to the group is converted safety Tyler Gullett who has moved to linebacker this spring after playing safety his previous two seasons at Ohio. Gullett had 31 tackles last season including 19 solo stops, three pass breakups and a blocked kick.

The Bobcats will also be adding a trio of incoming freshmen in Bryce Houston, Jack McCrory and Keye Thompson. 

Quote from Ron Collins – Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

"Evan isn't out there this spring, but he is a guy we want on the field for every play. The other guys are all competing and they are all learning. Some guys are getting more reps than others, especially the guys coming back so that when we get into fall camp those guys have gotten between 400 and 500 reps during the spring. That is about where they are at. It is all about being able to play and see the plays out on the field because it just doesn't happen automatically. I feel good about where they are going right now."