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Ranking the 2016 linebacker groups: UCLA has the best linebackers in the Pac-12

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Ranking the Pac-12 linebacker units from top to bottom.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. UCLA (Deon Hollins Sr. Jayon Brown Sr. Kenny Young Jr. Isaako Savaiinaea Sr. Cameron Judge Sr.) The Bruins are still loaded at linebacker without Myles Jack. Hollins is the best backer coming back in the conference and the rest are experienced talents who Jim Mora has loaded up on in recent stellar recruiting classes who have lived up to their hype.

2. Arizona State (Salamo Fiso Sr. DJ Calhoun Jr. Christian Sam Jr. Laiu Moekiola Sr. Marcus Ball Jr. Carlos Mendoza Sr.) This unit was part of a defense which had a lot of issues last season, but there is no denying their talent and experience. Fiso made more plays in the backfield than any player in the conference last year and Calhoun and Sam weren't far behind.

3. Washington (Azeem Victor Jr. Keishawn Bierria Jr. Psalm Wooching Sr. Ben Burr-Kirven So. Sean Constantine Jr.) - Victor is the scariest player in the conference and a budding star. Bierria is an underrated talent with a ton of range for a linebacker. The rest of the unit is experienced and deep.

4. USC (Cameron Smith So. Olajuwan Tucker Jr. Uchenna Nwosu Jr. Michael Hutchings Sr. Osa Masina So.) This nice group is led by sophomore star Smith and is loaded up with other players who have been more than consistent the past few seasons like Tucker, Nwosu and Hutchings.

5. Stanford (Peter Kalambayi Sr. Kevin Palma Sr. Noor Davis Sr. Jordan Perez Jr. Joey Alfieri Jr.) This group is loaded with former blue chip recruits ready to take the Cardinal defense back to elite status. Kalambayi is the best of the group as a huge pass rusher.

6. Arizona (Michael Barton Sr. Jake Matthews Sr. Derrick Turituri Jr. DeAndre' Miller Jr. Cody Ippolito Sr.) - I really like this group, actually. Matthews is a veteran sure tackler and Turituri and Ippolito could be great pass rushers if healthy. Cal transfer Barton was a huge addition.

7. Washington State (Peyton Pelleur Jr. Chandler Leniu So. Frankie Luvu Jr. Logan Tago So.) - This group is led by tackling machine Pelleur. The rest of the group isn't overly proven, but the Cougar defense has really made a lot of progress in recent seasons.

8. Utah (Sunia Tauteoli Jr. Cody Barton So. Sharrief Shah Sr. David Luafatasaga Jr.) - This unit has to replace all their starters, but the Utes are putting together a track record for tough defense, especially up front and these guys fit their mold.

9. Oregon (Torrodney Prevot Sr. Cody Carriger Sr. Jimmie Swain Jr. Johnny Ragin Sr. Eddie Heard Jr.) - The Ducks don't have much proven talent here, but they have made a living getting unheralded defensive players to turn into stars so that could easily happen again.

10. Colorado (Rick Gamboa So. Kenneth Olugbode Sr. Jimmie Gilbert Sr. Addison Gillam Sr. Jaleel Awini Sr.) - The Buffs have long had trouble on defense, but this unit has experience and potential, especially if Gillam can bounce back.

11. Cal (Raymond Davison Jr. DeVante Downs Jr. Aisea Tongilava So.) - The Bears took a huge hit when one of the Pac-12's best linebacker, Hardy Nickerson transferred to Illinois.

12. Oregon State (Jonathan Willis So. Manase Hungalu Jr. Kyle Haley Sr. Titus Failauga Jr.) - Jonathan Willis is the best player on the Beaver defense and has the chance to help this unit climb up in the Pac-12.