2016 Preseason All-American Projections: Inside Linebackers

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2016 college football season WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises and the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next April in the 2017 NFL Draft.

First-Team Inside Linebacker: Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

McMillan played really well in 2015. He totaled 119 tackles with 1.5 sacks and four passes broken up on the year. McMillan is a physical, tough defender at the point of attack. As a freshman in 2014, he played a lot for Ohio State, totaling 54 tackles with 2.5 sacks and a pick-six. With Darron Lee, Von Bell and Tyvis Powell in the NFL, it wouldn’t surprise me if McMillan has an even bigger tackle total this season. Plus, Ohio State lost defensive lineman like Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington, who were made tackles against the run, as well. McMillan could produce a huge 2016 season.

Second-Team Inside Linebacker: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee

In 2015, Reeves-Maybin recorded 105 tackles with six sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and four passes batted. The junior had a breakout regular season in the SEC with impressive games against Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama. Reeves-Maybin (6-0, 225) has shown good instincts and the speed to run from sideline to sideline. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is among the best linebackers in the SEC this season and puts up an impressive tackle total.

Third-Team Inside Linebacker: Reuben Foster, Alabama

In 2015, Foster had 73 tackles with eight for a loss, two sacks and nine passes broken up. The 6-foot-1, 244-pounder had the game of his life in the championship against Clemson. He should take on a larger role in 2016 with Reggie Ragland moving on to the NFL. Foster was a rotational player for Alabama in 2014 and had 22 tackles. He could be poised for a breakout season, and playing for Alabama will give Foster plenty of opportunity to get noticed.

Honorable Mentions: Northwestern’s Anthony Walker, LSU’s Kendell Beckwith, Iowa’s Josey Jewell, Baylor’s Taylor Young, Clemson’s Ben Boulware, Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, Mississippi State’s Richie Brown, Michigan’s Riley Bullough, Louisville’s Keith Kelsey and Illinois’ Hardy Nickerson.

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