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Dec 17, 2017
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  Football Preview: Linebackers

Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy have held together Auburnís linebacker corps the past two seasons, but with both having moved on, the Tigers will need to find a new way to keep the deep part of the front seven playing well.

Frost and McKinzy finished second and third on the team last year with 96 and 74 tackles, respectively. The leaderboard for Auburnís defense was filled with defensive backs, but linebackers Justin Garrett and Tre Williams finished in the top 10 for tackles in 2015.

Garrett has also moved on from the Tigers, but Williams, a junior, will have the best opportunity to show that of the returning players heís more than just a highly ranked recruit thatís made plays when heís seen playing time. In 2016, Williams will have a chance to be a star.

Williams finished 2015 with 55 tackles, including four for a loss, in 12 games. He also had a fumble recovery. Williams is expected to start at Sam but may spend some time at MLB.

Beyond Williams, Auburn is expected to have a lot of new guys on the field at linebacker.

Deshaun Davis, T.J. Neal, Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson are all expected to compete for a starting role and certainly get playing time regardless.

Neal, a graduate transfer from Illinois, did nothing less than shine in the Big 10. He started all 25 games in his last two years as an Illini player and made a total of 255 tackles in those seasons ó including 109 last year, 15 coming for loss.

While Neal has plenty of experience, Davisí playing time has come mostly on special teams. He played in every game in 2015 as a redshirt freshman, tallying two tackles, one being for a loss.

Darrell Williams played in nine games last year.

The Tigersí new linebacker unit could see some growing pains, but theyíll be fortunate in having a strong defensive line in front of it and a possibly solid secondary behind it. The unit can gain much needed confidence with a solid performance in the opener against the defending national runner- up.

Brandon Miller

Coming August 22: Defensive Backs

Newcomers

Quarterbacks and Receivers

Running Backs and Offensive Line

Defensive Line

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