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Linebackers Depth Chart Primer: Bundage, Edison-McGruder Key This Year

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Yesterday we got our first look at some defensive depth chart projections when we looked at the defensive line and what role Glenn Spencer’s group will play on the whole this year. Today, linebackers.

Linebackers
  • LB/Star – Kenneth Edison-Mcgruder – Jr. |  Calvin Bundage – So. | Kirk Tucker – Sr.
  • MLB – Chad Whitener – RS-Sr. | Gyasi Akem – Sr. | Devin Harper/Patrick Macon
  • WLB – Justin Phillips – RS-Jr. | Kevin Henry – RS-So.

Pretty exciting group here. I’m not as high as most on Whitener, but he’s the guy in the middle who should be the leader. It’s kind of a boom or bust group in my opinion, I would expect some really incredble plays and some bone-headed mistakes and growing pains. This isn’t a great run stopping group, but I do think they will be better in pass coverage than past LB corps.

Glenn Spencer mentioned this in the PFB video at Karsten Creek, but he certainly plans on getting Edison-McGruder and Bundage on the field at the same time even if they’re slotted for the same position.

You can see the strategy playing out, picture it 3rd and 10 and you have KEM and Bundage at LB and Darius Curry, Ramon Richards and Tre Flowers at safety. That is a really strong pass defensive group right there, and you absolutely have to be able to defend the pass in the Big 12.

I would expect this more and more if you see four-LB looks, especially when both guys have ability to drop into deep zone coverage. Those two (KEM/Bundage) have the biggest play-making ability of the entire group. Bundage is my favorite player on the defense, he is extremely physical and can make plays with his length. He needs to cut down on mistakes but he is a player to watch moving forward.

Justin Phillips has a lot of ability, he was able to get some valuable experience last year and looked awesome at times.

Has the athleticism to make plays in pass coverage. He isn’t overly physical at point of attack but is sufficient enough there. I’ve said it a few times on Twitter, but I think Phillips and Bundage have the best chance to make it to the next level at the linebacker spot. Kirk Tucker will play a big role on special teams and in 3rd down passing situations.

Having a Senior like Gyasi Akem at backup MLB is a nice thing to have, he is someone that provides some solid depth so we can keep Whitener’s snap count to a reasonable number. In previous years he has been on the field way too much.

Kevin Henry provides nice depth at Will Linebacker behind Phillips. He had some moments last year where he played well, but he’s still young.

Overall I would expect Edison-McGruder and Bundage to set the tone for this group. If they take the next step and maximize their potential this could end up being a really solid LB unit. If not I think it could be a long year for the OSU defense.

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