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Ranking the Top 12 SuperWest Linebackers for 2024

From the Big Ten to the Big 12 and Mountain West, the West Coast talent at LB is evident

Posted on June 29, 2024

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

A star linebacker can change the game. There’s nothing more powerful than an elite tackler that makes play after play.

From the Big Ten to the Big 12 and Mountain West, the talent at linebacker on the West Coast is evident.

Here’s how I view the Top 12 Linebackers in the SuperWest Region (all former Pac-12 schools, the Mountain West, and BYU).

Jacob Manu | Arizona Athletics

1. Jacob Manu, Arizona
With 20 starts over his two-year career, Jacob Manu is one of the top linebackers in the country.

He led the Pac-12 in tackles last season with 116 while posting 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss.

Entering his junior year as the clear leader of the Wildcat defense, Manu should burst onto the national scene.

Ex-Beaver & current Trojan Easton Mascarenas-Arnold The Oregonian/OregonLive

2. Easton Mascarenas-Arnold, USC
Undoubtedly one of the top linebackers in the country, Oregon State transfer Easton Mascarenas-Arnold is a problem.

He had 107 total tackles last season with 6.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Now at USC for his senior season, Mascarenas-Arnold should help boost the Trojan defense as they transfer into the Big Ten.

Jackson Woodard | Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

3. Jackson Woodard, UNLV
The impact Jackson Woodard has on UNLV’s program can’t be understated.

Woodard was 42nd nationally in tackles per game last year and arguably returns as the top linebacker in the Mountain West.

The former Arkansas transfer put up 116 tackles last season along with nine tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Andrew Simpson | Boise State Athletics

4. Andrew Simpson, Boise State
Boise State’s Andrew Simpson put up numbers last year.

The redshirt sophomore secured 16 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles.

The production earned him All-Mountain West Second Team honors. He’s only started 14 games over his career and is primed to break out in 2024.

Jeffrey Bassa | Craig Strobeck/247Sports

5. Jeffrey Bassa, Oregon
Jeffrey Bassa was Oregon’s second-leading tackler last season.

As a junior, Bassa posted 72 total tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss.

Coming into his third year as the starter, the stage is set for Bassa to be one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten.

Levani Damuni | Megan Nielsen/Deseret News

6. Levani Damuni, Utah
Levani Damuni was the heart and soul of Utah’s linebacker corps.

He led the team in tackles with 87 despite not winning the starting job until the final six games of the year.

Expected to miss some of the season due to injury, Damuni would be one of the top linebackers in the Big 12 when he returns.

Chase Wilson | Andy Cross/The Denver Post

7. Chase Wilson, Colorado State
The numbers add up.

Colorado State’s Chase Wilson had 107 tackles last season with 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Production like that deserves recognition.

With just 12 starts over his career, look for Wilson to make waves in the Mountain West this season.

Karene Reid | Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune

8. Karene Reid, Utah
A threat in pass defense, Karene Reid is versatile and productive.

He was Utah’s second-leading tackler in 2023 while securing four pass breakups and a pick-six.

Reid had 67 tackles with two tackles for loss last year and is coming into his third season as a starter with 31 career starts to his name.

Mason Cobb | Ryan Sun/AP

9. Mason Cobb, USC
Every team needs a player like Mason Cobb.

He led USC with 85 tackles and seven tackles for loss. He started nine games for the Trojans last year and has 22 starts over his career.

Solid and consistent, Cobb is one of the top linebackers on the West Coast.

Gaethan Bernadel | Xavier Mascareñas/The Sacramento Bee

10. Gaethan Bernadel, Stanford
The former transfer from Florida International started all 12 games for the Cardinal last season.

He led the Tree in tackles with 87 and four tackles for loss.

Arguably overlooked and flying under the radar, Bernadel could make noise in the ACC.

Shae Suiaunoa | Troy Babbitt/Wyoming Media-Athletics

11. Shae Suiaunoa, Wyoming
A two-year starter at Wyoming, Shae Suiaunoa is among the Mountain West’s elite linebackers.

He had 93 tackles last season with 5.5. tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Now starting his sixth season of college football, Suiaunoa has the experience required to lead the Cowboys.

Kyle Thornton | Whitney Thornton/CougFan

12. Kyle Thornton, Washington State
Kyle Thornton emerged on the scene during his redshirt sophomore season.

He recorded 87 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack.

With a full year of starting experience, Thornton should take another step forward in 2024.

Honorable Mention

Alphonzo Tuputala, Washington

Alphonzo Tuputala has 27 starts over the last two seasons in Seattle.

As well-rounded as they come, Tuputala recorded 69 tackles, an interception, 1.5 sacks, and two tackles for loss last year.

Entering his sixth season of college football, the Husky senior provides stability for a team in rebuild mode.

—More from Dane Miller—