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2014 Pac-12 position unit rankings - Linebackers: UCLA, Washington and USC loaded with talented linebackers

The Pac-12 has some of the strongest linebacker units in the nation.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

1. UCLA (Myles Jack, Eric Kendricks, Kenny Orijoke, Isaako Savaiinaea, Taylor Lagace, Aaron Wallace, Deon Hollins, Ryan Hofmeister, Zach Whitley, Jayon Brown)

The Bruins might have the conference's two best linebackers in Jack and Kendricks and they have an army of talented, young linebackers emerging behind them. Jack is the explosive athlete that can defend the pass and run in the flats, while Kendricks is as good as anyone in the country at holding down the middle and racking up tackles.

2. Washington (Shaq Thompson, John Timu, Travis Feeney, Cory Littleton)

No team might have a better trio of starters in the Pac-12 than the Huskies who have ultra-athletic freak Thompson, four-year starter and rock in the middle Timu and the rangy Feeney who is a force on the edge. Thompson is very similar to Jack with maybe a little more athleticism, Timu is one of the most-experienced linebackers in the conference and Feeney is one of the fastest players on the Huskies at 215 pounds.

3. USC (Hayes Pullard, Lamar Dawson, J.R. Tavai, Scott Starr, Anthony Sarao, Jabari Ruffin, Michael Hutchings)

Pullard gets my vote over Jack as the conference's top linebacker do to his strength, consistency and experience. Outside of Pullard, the Trojans have a deep trench of good linebackers like Dawson, who has been a steady presence with a ton of experience and Tavai who is an excellent pass rusher that is a sometimes defensive end.

4. Stanford (A.J. Tarpley, James Vaughters, Kevin Anderson, Joe Hemschoot, Blake Martinez)

Trent Murphy, Shayne Skov and Jarek Lancaster are gone but Tarpley and Vaughters are a wonderful one-two punch. Tarpley and Vaughters are in the mold of the massive intimidators that can still run that so many recent Stanford greats have been and Anderson and Martinez were excellent depth players in recent seasons that will need to step up to being starters.

5. Oregon State (D.J. Alexander, Jabral Johnson, Michael Doctor, Caleb Saulo, Rommel Mageo, Joel Skotte)

A very underrated starting trio, Alexander, Doctor and Johnson area all sure-tackling seniors that are just typical Beaver linebackers that aren't flashy and make plays. The rest of their depth players, were solid in spot work in 2013.

6. Oregon (Derrick Malone, Rodney Hardrick, Tyson Coleman, Rahim Cassell, Joe Walker)

A big drop off here, but the Ducks still have a relatively strong unit. Malone is an All-Pac-12-level player with excellent speed, Hardrick is a big enforcer and the rest of the Duck unit is speedy and plays well sideline-to-sideline.

7. Utah (Jason Whittingham, Jared Norris, Uaea Masina, Jacoby Hale, V.J. Fehoko, L.T. Filaga)

This unit is all about Whittingham, who might be the most underrated hybrid, edge linebacker in the conference as he was excellent in pass rushing in 2013. The rest of the group is solid, but not spectacular and has decent experience.

8. Washington State (Darryl Monroe, Cyrus Coen, Tana Pritchard, Kache Palacio)

Monroe is one of the better linebackers in the conference that you haven't heard of and Coen and Pritchard are solid supporting players who are key components of an improving Cougar defense.

9. Arizona (Scooby Wright, DeAndre' Miller, Antonio Smothers, Hank Hobson, Keoni Bush-Loo)

Scooby Wright is about as good of a sophomore linebacker that you can find after Jack, but other than that, there is limited experience and talent here.

10. Colorado (Addison Gillam, Woodson Greer, Kenneth Olugbode, Brady Daigh)

Colorado and Arizona are very similar. Gillam is a stud sophomore and the rest of the group has some experience, but has yet to prove itself well.

11. Arizona State (Salamo Fiso, Viliami Moeakiola, D.J Calhoun, Chans Cox, Carlos Mendoza)

The Sun Devils' linebacking unit has been gutted by graduation and the NFL, but does have a lot of Young talent.

12. Cal (Jalen Jefferson, Michael Barton, Maximo Espitia, Hardy Nickerson, Jason Gibson)

The Bears belong here, but don't be surprised if this unit is really good in a year or two as there is a lot of talent.