|LB Colton Caslow (NJ.com)|
Only one senior on the two deep, team captain LB Isaiah Campbell, graduates, meaning the the potential seems high.
With five guys on this unit next season in the top ten in tackles, hopes are high that head coach Andy Coen and defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri can craft this group into a more dominating unit this upcoming season.
This spring, many are looking to see how many linebackers take a step forward.
Though senior DE/LB Matt Laub won't be playing this spring due to injury, there's plenty of action to be seen with this unit in the spring game.
Start with the interior linebacker starters in junior LB Colton Caslow (67 tackles) and junior LB Pierce Ripanti (75 tackles, 5 1/2 tackles for loss), who finished 2 and 1, respectively, atop Lehigh's tackle list.
If senior LB Cody Kondas can stay healthy (37 tackles, 1 sack), 2015 looks like a year in which the interior of the defense could be a real strength of the team.
"Ripanti and Caslow are guys I expect to make a significant impact," head coach Andy told me. "Kondas has fought through injuries over the past few seasons and I hope he can stay healthy."
Junior LB Evan Harvey and sophomore LB Cal Coffman, two guys who got some playing time last season inside, will also back them up.
With Laub absent this spring, the battle at outside linebacker is fierce.
Senior LB Laquan Lambert (65 tackles, 3 tackles for loss) moves to the outside from the position he played last year, free safety, while senior LB Noah Robb has "filled out", according to coach Coen, and seems like he's on top of the depth chart for the spring game. "Both Lambert and Robb have played well," he said.
Junior LB Joe Barrett, who played mostly on special teams last season, seems to be a big beneficiary from Laub's absence, as he immediately is in the mix at outside linebacker, backing up both sides.
One of the things I'm going to be looking at is backups at outside linebacker - whether Harvey, Coffman, or sophomore LB Hobbie McCain get some time on the outside.
LFN's unofficial guess at the spring depth chart:
1st: Senior LB Laquan Lambert
2nd: Junior LB Joe Barrett
1st: Junior LB Colton Caslow
2nd: Senior LB Cody Kondas or sophomore LB Cal Coffman
1st: Junior LB Pierce Ripanti
2nd: Junior LB Evan Harvey
1st: Senior LB Noah Robb
2nd: Junior LB Joe Barrett or sophomore LB Hobbie McCain