- Arizona State (Merlin Robertson So. Darien Butler So. Tyler Whiley Sr. Khaylan Kearse-Thomas Sr. Tyler Johnson So.) - Robertson was so good as a true freshman and so talented I could see him being the conference’s best linebacker by the end of the season. Butler was one of the best freshman linebackers in the nation after Robertson and the rest of the unit brings solid experience to the table.
- Arizona (Colin Schooler Sr. Tony Fields II Jr. Jalen Harris So. Anthony Pandy Jr. Lee Anderson III Sr.) - The Wildcats with a top defensive unit? Yes, I think Schooler is a first-team All-Pac-12 player and Fields a second or third team. Having two studs LBs goes a long ways in a very down year for Pac-12 linebacker units.
- UCLA (Keisean Lucier-South Jr. Khrys Barnes Sr. Josh Woods Sr. Odua Isibor So. Tyree Thompson Sr. Lokeni Toailoa Sr.) - This is probably UCLA’s strongest position group, led by veteran standouts KLS and Barnes and should get a big boost by getting Woods back from injury.
- Oregon (Troy Dye Sr. La’Mar Winston Sr. Adrian Jackson So. Isaac Slade-Matautia So. Sampson Niu Jr. DJ Johnson So.) Dye returning for his senior season boosts the entire Duck defense as he’ll be a major Pac-12 Defensive Player of the candidate. Winston is an intriguing veteran in a key position for the Ducks and Miami transfer Johnson is a wild card who could be a huge player for the Ducks.
- Cal (Evan Weaver Sr. Kuony Deng Jr. Cameron Goode Jr. Evan Rambo Sr.) - Cal’s ranking has a lot to do with Weaver being the conference’s best linebacker and a major candidate for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Getting Goode back from injury is a huge boost for this unit after losing Jordan Kunasyzk to graduation.
- Washington State (Jahad Woods Jr. Willie Taylor III So. Justus Rogers Jr. Dillon Sherman Jr.) - Woods is one of the better players in the conference many people don’t know about and should be second-team All-Pac-12. Taylor is a rising playmaker and Rogers and Sherman great veteran depth.
- USC (John Houston Sr. Jordan Iosefa Sr. Palaie Gaoteote So. Hunter Echols So. Solomon Tuliapupu Fr.) - The Trojans lose talent in this unit from last year, but bring back really nice experience with Houston and Iosefa. Five-star recruit Gaoteote is a player to watch as he has the most potential of any linebacker in the entire conference.
- Utah (Francis Bernard Sr. Manny Bowen Sr. Sione Lund So. Devin Lloyd So.) - The Utes have a lot of work to do to replace Chase Hansen and Cody Barton. Transfers Bernard (BYU) and Bowen (Penn State) should be at least solid and the Utes have been excellent at developing defensive studs year after year.
- Stanford (Jordan Fox Sr. Casey Toohill Sr. Andrew Prysts Sr. Ricky Miezan So. Gabe Reid Jr.) - The Cardinal seem to be running out of All-Pac-12 linebackers. That doesn’t mean this unit is bad though. Fox and Toohill are massive LBs in the Stanford mode of players who can make plays in the backfield.
- Colorado (Nate Landman Jr. Akil Jones Jr. Jacob Callier So. Carson Wells So.) - Landman is a borderline first-team All-Pac-12 talent. There’s a big drop off after that though as the Buffs need to replace a lot of talent and experience.
- Washington (Brandon Wellington Sr. Kyler Manu Sr. Ryan Bowman Jr. Ariel Ngata So. MJ Tafisi Fr.) - The Huskies have to a major reload at linebaker, especially after losing senior DJ Beavers to medical retirement. The Husky defense reloads better than any program in the Pac-12 right now though and Wellington is a player that could thrive in a prominent role.
- Oregon State (Andrzej Hughes-Murray Sr. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. Shemar Smith Sr. Isaiah Tufaga So.) - I actually really like this unit for number 12. A lot of experience here and I’ll note that while the conference is really light on top linebacker units, it’s super deep.
2019 Pac-12 linebacker groups: do the Arizona schools have the Pac-12’s top linebacker units?
Ranking the 2019 Pac-12 linebacker units.
By Jack Follman