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Top 2018 Pac-12 linebackers: USC’s Cameron Smith and Oregon’s Troy Dye the Pac-12’s best

The conference is loaded with great linebackers this season.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Cameron Smith Sr. USC - Smith could have went to the NFL after his junior year and been a third round pick at worst. He has great size, is polished, and a leader. Basically a perfect college inside linebacker.

2. Troy Dye Jr. Oregon - Dye’s probably the best NFL prospect of this group as a rangy player who can go from sideline to sideline and disrupt in the backfield. He’s the best player in the conference at stopping plays behind the line of scrimmage.

3. Bobby Okereke Sr. Stanford - Okereke emerged as a defensive playmaker late in 2017 and should build on that in his final season of college ball. He’s big, aggressive and can make plays in the backfield.

4. Peyton Pelleur Sr. Washington State - Pelleur got his senior season back and should return to being one of the nation’s best tacklers. He will be a veteran leader for the Cougars’ defense.

5. Ben Burr-Kirven Sr. Washington - BBK is a disciplined player who is one of the most-consistent linebackers in the conferences. He’s a key part of what should be another lights out Husky defense.

6. Tevis Bartlett Sr. Washington - Another senior leader for the Huskies at linebacker. Bartlett has moved from outside to inside where his size and strength should pay off.

7. Rick Gamboa Sr. Colorado - Gamboa’s an underrated talent in the conference who can rack up tackles and lead the way for the Buffs defense.

8. Drew Lewis Sr. Colorado - Another talented Buff linebacker who can rack up tackles and blow up plays in the backfield.

9. Chase Hansen Sr. Utah - Hansen is a former All-Pac-12 safety who is poised for a huge senior season as a linebacker. He has great athleticism and pass coverage skills for an LB.

10. Colin Schooler So. Arizona - Schooler emerged as one of the best freshman linebackers in the country last year. He is part of an Arizona defense that should continued to get better this year.

11. Tony Fields So. Arizona - The other talented Arizona freshman linebacker who stepped up last year. He’s a great run and pass defender.

12. Joey Alfieri Sr. Stanford - Alfieri has been battling injuries, but the massive hitter with great size has first-team All-Pac-12 potential if he can stay healthy and progress as a senior.