Posted on June 27, 2023
The way new college football offenses spread out the position and more and more defenses are using five DBs, it’s also getting less and less important.
There are still some really good players at the position in the conference, though, going into 2023.
1. Darius Muasau, Senior, UCLAMuasau may have been the best linebacker in the conference last season and he now has one more run. It shouldn’t be a debate this year.
2. Karene Reid, Junior, UtahIf someone can challenge Muasau for the top spot, it’s Reid. He’s everything you want in a linebacker and Utah has an excellent track record of developing the best.
3. Mason Cobb, Senior, USCThe All-Big 12 veteran is ready to be All-Pac-12. Cobb should immediately make USC’s defense better.
4. Shane Lee, Senior, USCA veteran who is already on USC’s squad, Lee racks up tackles and big plays. He’s a defensive leader for the Trojans.
5. Levani Damuni, Senior, UtahDamuni has been a standout at Stanford for years now and closes out his career at Utah, where he should be one of the best in the conference.
6. Jackson Sirmon, Senior, CalSirmon has been in college for a long time and he has a ton of tackles. One of the best veterans at any position in the Pac-12 and a big-time piece coming back on Cal’s defense for one more year.
7. Eric Gentry, Junior, USCA crazy good long athlete who had more than 70 tackles, two sacks and an interception last year. Genry has major first-team All-Pac-12 potential.
8. Jestin Jacobs, Junior, OregonThe Iowa transfer brings a lot to the table if he can come back healthy. Jacobs was great in 2021 and should bolster Oregon’s defense immediately.
9. Jeffrey Bassa, Junior, Oregon
Bassa has quietly been a great defender for the Ducks these past two years as a versatile hybrid athlete. More than 60 tackles last year and two sacks with two interceptions.
10. Lander Barton, Sophomore, UtahThere’s a chance Barton could be the best linebacker in the Conference by the end of the season. Yes, his potential is that high coming off a freshman season where he had 46 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
11. Jacob Manu, Sophomore, ArizonaOne of the best freshman defenders in the conference last year. Manu had a lot of tackles and should progress and help Arizona’s defense improve in 2023.
12. Edefuan Ulofoshio, Senior, WashingtonUlofoshio was becoming one of the Conference’s best linebackers before injuries took him down for two years. He could be huge for the Huskies if he truly gets healthy and right.
—More from Jack Follman—
- Jack Follman’s 10 Thoughts on 2023 Week 1 in the Pac-12
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 9-13
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 5-8
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 1-4
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (5-1)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 DB Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top Pac-12 Defensive Backs
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (10-6)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 LB Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (20-11)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 DL Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top Pac-12 D-Linemen
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 OL Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (30-21)
- Jack Follman’s Top Pac-12 Offensive Lineman for 2023
Jack Follman’s 10 Thoughts on 2023 Week 1 in the Pac-12The Conference was at its best with every member team winning—most of them handily - September 5, 2023
Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 9-13Scores for every game with commentary on top contests, plus projected standings and title game - August 17, 2023
Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 5-8Early picks with scores for every game and commentary for top contests & projected standings - August 16, 2023