Linebacker. Anyone who’s attended Notre Dame, or SMC, or Holy Cross, or gone to a game, has a handful of blurry memories of The ‘backer, which is why its omission from the this list is a scandal of…what? OH! Nevermind…
LINEBACKER: THE IRISH
Manti Te’o won every award available to a linebacker, save one, last season, thereby leaving behind giant, Hawaii’an shoes to fill. With no disrespect intended to Carlo Calabrese, or Dan Fox, or Danny Spond, Prince Shembo is my pick for this piece and the Irish linebacker most likely to end thefts of bicycle seats for all time. Seriously, if Prince yelled at me and accused me of taking his bike seat, I likely would not only have peed a little, I probably would have given him my own bike seat and that of every first born male child in my ancestral village. What would you have done?
As a player, Shembo’s got three seasons under his belt and absolutely blew it up last year. A Butkus Award watch-listee, the 6’2″ 258 pound native of Charlotte, North Carolina tallied some rather impressive numbers over thirteen games: 22 solo tackles, 29 assisted tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries and 1 pass break up. His fellow watch-listee, Carlo Calabrese, had 19 solo tackles, 30 assisted tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble. His other fellow watch-listee (yep, we have THREE), Dan Fox, had 30 solo talckles, 33 assisted tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 broken up passes, and 2 quarterback hurries. Highlights here:
LINEBACKER: THE ENEMY
Of all the linebackers on all the teams the Irish will face in the upcoming campaign, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy is likely the best of them all. Slightly taller at 6’3″ than Prince Shembo, and about fifteen pounds lighter, Van Noy is all over the field, even returning a punt. Which maybe Shembo can do for us. I don’t know. We should try something. How could make it worse? Amiright?
Last season Van Noy, a consensus preseason First Team All-American, put up some crazy numbers that harken back to the days when a fella played both sides of the ball, smoked Lucky Strikes and went off to fight the Hun: 37 solo tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 15 assisted tackles, 2 interceptions, 13 sacks, 8 quarterback hurries, 6 forced fumbles, 2 blocked kicks, and the aforementioned punt return.
Check out his action here: