Linebackers Have Talented Present and Bright Future at MC
CLINTON, MS - In the coming weeks, we will take a chance to preview each position on the field for the Choctaws as we head toward the season opening "Backyard Brawl" on September 3rd against Millsaps. We invite MC fans to take a look and get more acclimated with the 2011 group of Choctaws.
The schedule will be as follows:
Quarterbacks – August 15th
Running Backs – August 16th
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends – August 17th
Offensive Line – August 18th
Defensive Line – August 19th
Linebackers – TODAY
Secondary – MONDAY
Special Teams – August 23rd
Offense – August 24th
Defense – August 25th
Overall – August 26th
The position on the defense that has the most returning experience is at linebacker where the Choctaws return six players that started games in 2010. The group is highlighted by the team's leading tackler a year ago in senior Jeremy Bertrand(Abbeville, LA, Vermilion Catholic). Couple that with the transition of seniors Jarryn Bingham (Ridgeland, MS, Northeast Mississippi Community College) and Sam Maze (Arab, AL, Arab High School)from defensive line to linebacker, and you have one of the most formidable groups in the ASC.
Bertrand was one of only three defensive players to start all 10 games in 2010 and paced MC with 71 tackles, including 37 solo stops. The Abbeville, LA native also tallied 6.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. Jeremy had his best game of the year in the season finale against McMurry with 14 tackles, one fumble recovery, and one interception.
Bingham was a force at defensive end last season, leading the team with 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sack. The Ridgeland native made the transition to linebacker for the upcoming season due to depth at defensive line and the utilization of his speed from the outside.
Maze joins Bingham as a former defensive lineman for the Choctaws turned linebacker. The Arab, AL native tallied 19 tackles and also had his top game of the season against McMurry with 2.0 sacks for seven yards in the finale. Maze and Bertrand will be looked at to lead the linebackers from the middle of the field and make the calls for the defensive line, as well.
While the present looks good at linebacker for the Choctaws, the future is also bright with three sophomores stepping forward after outstanding freshman seasons in 2010.
Baylor Blanchard (Roseland, LA, Oak Forest Academy) gives the Choctaws another speed threat at outside linebacker. The Roseland, AL native missed the final five games of the season due to injury, but saw extensive time from the opening kickoff.
Dallas Bogle (Lakewood, IL, Crystal Lake Central High School) and Landen Moore (Hoover, AL, Hoover High School) have really impressed in preseason camp as well. Moore started six games for the Choctaws as a freshman and recorded 20 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The former Hoover High standout tallied a season-best six tackles in the win over Howard Payne. Bogle has made a huge jump from freshman to sophomore year as he is pushing for big playing time in 2011. The freshman saw extended time on special teams last season, but looks to be a force in the middle for the Choctaws on defense and special teams this year.
Three newcomers have stepped on the scene and impressed right away with the addition of transfer Doc Ward and freshmen Dillon Causey (Denham Springs, LA, Live Oak High School) and Melvin Dunn (Mobile, AL, Murphy High School). Ward comes to MC from Southeastern Louisiana and has a lot of athletic ability at the position. Causey and Dunn are future Choctaws that have the potential to etch their names in the MC record books when it's all said and done.
Tomorrow we will preview the MC secondary in 2011.