In today’s Georgia Tech football spring position preview, we take a look at the Jackets linebackers.
Due to time constrictions, we will only be able to cover the projected starters for the linebackers today.
Entering the spring, one of the perceived strengths of Georgia Tech football’s defense was their linebacker. The linebacking corp is full of talent and experience that should prove to be vital and useful for the Jackets going forward.
Last season, the Jackets used a 4-3 defense that saw three linebackers on the field most of the time. In 2018, Nate Woody will be using the 3-4 defense meaning that the Jackets will be running four linebackers onto the field most of the time.
OLB Victor Alexander – SR:
The Jackets will be returning their leading tackler in Victor Alexander as he had a career-high 60 tackles last season with two tackles for a loss and two sacks as well. After spending his first few seasons as a backup and a special teams contributor, Alexander really came into his own last season and will be one of the hearts of the Jackets defense in 2018.
Alexander in 2018 will be playing most likely one of the outside linebacker spots, having a strong role in both the pass rush and run defense.
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ILB Brant Mitchell – SR:
Next to Alexander will be another senior in Brant Mitchell who with Alexander should be the leaders of the Jackets defense next season. Mitchell without a doubt is the Jackets best linebacker and when he’s not on the field, his missing presence is evident. Last season when Mitchell was going through injury problems, the Jackets linebacking corps struggled.
While they weren’t perfect when he was on the field, Mitchell provides a great inside linebacker that is strong fundamentally and is one of the best linebackers in the ACC when healthy. With Alexander and Mitchell, the Jackets will have a great senior presence in the middle of their defense.
ILB Bruce Jordan-Swilling – SO:
There is a ton of promise in this Georgia Tech legacy who saw time right away as a true freshman last season. Jordan-Swilling played in all of the Jackets’ 11-games last season and was able to record 34 tackles while also being productive in picking up two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one pass deflection, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. He didn’t put flashy numbers across the board but he had a criminally underrated strong freshman campaign. Y
es, he wasn’t perfect on the field and had his fair share of mistakes, but Jordan-Swilling surely lived up to all the expectations last season. In 2018, Jordan-Swilling should be able to take a step forward and will have to. With Alexander and Mitchell both graduating post-2018, the Jackets will need a veteran presence come 2019. Expect big things out of Jordan-Swilling this upcoming season.
OLB Jaquan Henderson – SO:
While the first three linebacker are spots are pretty easy to project, the fourth linebacker spot is a bit tougher. Right now, it seems though that the player who has a good chance at being the Jackets second outside linebacker is sophomore Jaquan Henderson.
Henderson last did play in all 11 games spending most of his time as a reserve and special teams player. In 2018, he looks to take the next step and become a starting linebacker for the Yellow Jackets. Henderson was a promising recruit in the 2017 recruiting class and has plenty of potential. His development in 2018 will be a key factor to watch.