It’s time for the 2019 Pypeline True Freshmen Linebackers of the Year. These are players that stepped on campus and made an immediate impact with their team. With these guys wreaking havoc on defense, the future is bright for each of these teams.
Mase Funa – Oregon
Funa was a pass rushing specialist this season. He had 26 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. This Oregon defense has a chance to be among the best in college football next season.
Shane Lee – Alabama
Look up Tackling Machine in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of Shane Lee. This season he stepped up for the Crimson Tide and had 86 tackles, 6.5 TFL, and 4.5 sacks.
Darius Muasau – Hawaii
Muasau made a big impact for the Rainbow Warriors this year. He had 60 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 fumble recoveries.
Henry To’oto’o – Tennessee
To’oto’o was spectacular this season for the Vols. He had 72 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups and 1 fumble recovery. To’oto’o could top 100+ tackles next season.
Omar Speights – Oregon State
Speights is a tackling machine. This season he had 71 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, and 2 pass breakups. The Beavers have an All-American player here for the next 2-3 seasons.
Nick Rattin – Northern Illinois
Rattin, who was a walk-on, had a big season this year. He totaled 37 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass breakup, and had a touchdown. Rattin will continue to improve with an offseason of workouts and weight training.
Mikel Jones – Syracuse
Jones was a big pickup for the Orange from IMG Academy in Florida. This season he showed the type of talent he has with 38 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 PBU.
Mohamoud Diabate – Florida
Diabate played sparingly in just a few games this season. However, he made the most of his opportunities. He had 14 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. When he gets his shot, he will be an elite linebacker.
Drake Thomas – NC State
Thomas made an impact in limited time playing this season with his excellent tackling and good awareness. He finished the year with 34 tackles, 4 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, and 2 PBU.
Owen Pappoe – Auburn
Pappoe who was a 5⭐ recruit who lived up to expectations. He had 49 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 PBU, and 1 forced fumble.
Gavin Potter – Kansas
Potter impressed me this season. He had 56 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and 1 pass breakup. He excels at tackling and with an offseason in the weight room, expect 2020 to be a big year for the Jayhawk.
Christian Harris – Alabama
Harris made a big impact this season, recording 61 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, and 1 fumble recovery. He was in the backfield often & it looks like he will be a pass rushing specialist.
Other Notable Linebackers
Nolan Smith – Georgia
18 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 PBU
Keenan Pili – BYU
26 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups