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Cornerback and safety were decimated by graduation, but that doesn't begin to compare with what has to be replaced at linebacker.

Ronald Martinez

Shaun Lewis
-Big 12 Defensive POW
-All Big 12 1st Team, LB

Caleb Lavey
-Big 12 Defensive POW
-2nd Team Academic All-American
-All Big 12 2nd Team, LB

That was just in 2013.

In my mind, without question, Lewis and Lavey were the best linebacker tandem in the Big 12. Number 3 and number 1 respectively in tackles for OSU.

And they are both gone. Add to that the departures of Joe Mitchell and Dione Imade, and you have a situation similar to the safeties.

The positive for this position?

The player who was #4 in tackles is coming back.

49 Lester, Ryan LB 5-10 225 SR Muskogee, OK/Muskogee
40 Averette, Devante LB 6-0 235 JR Melvindale, MI/Melvindale/Ellsworth CC
52 Simmons, Ryan LB 6-0 242 JR Cibolo, TX/Steele
32 Catlin, Kris LB 6-1 225 JR San Antonio, TX/Madison
36 Ramacher, Dominic LB 6-3 230 SO Denton, TX/Guyer
42 Sherod, Demarcus LB 6-0 225 SO Decatur, GA/Columbia
44 Rake, Dillon LB 6-1 210 SO Southlake, TX/Carroll
10 Jacobs, Seth LB 6-2 220 SO Arroyo Grande, CA/Arroyo Grande
41 Bassett, Dawson LB 6-4 215 RS FR Tuttle, OK/Tuttle
Catlin is feeling his way through that spot and getting more reps than he ever has. Ramacher is getting some work in there. Devante is coming in from a junior college and he’s running to the ball, but doesn’t know what direction he’s going right now. HC Mike Gundy talking about the linebackers

Ryan Simmons will assume Lavey's role as "QB" of the defense. While that might be an easier fix, finding a body to replace Lewis is a whole other matter. Outside of Simmons (67), the Cowboys only have 30 of the remaining 248 LB tackles returning from 2013 in Kris Catlin, Dominic Ramacher, and Seth Jacobs. Catlin, Ramacher, and early enrollee Devante Averette have been mentioned by Gundy so far this spring.

Just like cornerback and safety, recruiting focused heavily on linebacker.

Josh Mabin ILB 6'1'' 215 HS
Justin Phillips ILB 5'11'' 210 HS
Gyasi Akem OLB 6'1'' 210 HS

As mentioned above, JUCO transfer Averette came in for the spring semester. It was anticipated that Averette and Gyasi Akem would have an immediate shot at playing time.

Just like the safeties, patience will be required while a bunch of new players try to get up to speed.

The defense was a strength in 2013. In 2014 depth is an issue in the middle of the line and across the entire back 7. Glenn Spencer got a tremendous amount of credit for bringing the intelligent aggressiveness that we all thought was missing during the Bill Young tenure.

Now we get to see how he is at developing and coaching up what will likely be one of the youngest and most inexperienced defenses in the Big 12.

Here's hoping the offense reverts back to 2011.



Offensive Line
Defensive Line
CB & Safety
Running Back