1. Drake Jackson (USC)
Drake Jackson is a hybrid-edge rusher who is not just one of the best linebackers in the Pac-12, but arguably one of the top defensive players in all of college football. Already projected as a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft, his mix of size at 6’ 4” and 255 pounds and strength make up for his lack of pure natural speed off the edge at times. However, when it comes to having an intangible nose for the football and being disruptive, Jackson tops just about any list.
2. Devin Lloyd (Utah)
A player who is truly as good as they come at their position, Utah’s Devin Lloyd is a painfully consistent play-maker, which helped him to earn a spot as a finalist for both the 2020 Butkus Award and Pop Warner College Football Award. The California-native hasn’t posted a game with less than six tackles since November of 2019 and he averaged a jaw-dropping 9.6 tackles per contest over five outings in 2020.
3. Nate Landman (Colorado)
When you think of old school linebackers, think of Colorado’s Nate Landman. The 6’ 3”, 235-pounder is a true tough as nails tackler, who has tallied almost 200 solo takedowns in his career, as well as 10 sacks, 9 passes defended and 3 interceptions during his stay in Boulder. He’s a clear gap-filler, who loves to charge up the middle and clog holes, affecting both the run and pass opportunities for any opponents.
4. Darius Muasau (Hawai’i)
A guy that I genuinely enjoy watching play the game, there’s few true lovers of football that won’t marvel at the playmaker that is Darius Muasau. An All-Mountain West First Team selection in 2020, Muasau ranked fourth in the country in solo tackles per game, while also posting 4.5 sacks in nine outings. He is the epitome of a player who sees where the play is going and is able to sniff it out, changing the landscape of just about any game on his own.
5. Noah Sewell (Oregon)
The brother of the #7 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Penei Sewell, younger sibling Noah Sewell is already making a name for himself on the field for the Ducks as well. His 44 tackles last season ranked him 8th overall in the Pac-12, yet it’s his mobility in his 6’ 3”, 250-pound frame that really sets him apart from some of the other linebackers on the Beavers upcoming slate.