2017 Johns Hopkins Football Preview - Linebackers
BALTIMORE, MD – In the fourth of a seven-part series breaking down the 2017 Johns Hopkins football team, HopkinsSports.com takes a look at the Blue Jay linebackers. While newcomers to the program may make an impact this season, the breakdown includes only returning players.
Who’s Gone: There’s no way to dance around the fact that this was the area of the team hit hardest by graduation. Regardless of how you view the Blue Jays’ 4-4-3 alignment and if you consider the outside linebackers as defensive backs or linebackers (in essence they are a hybrid), the Blue Jays have a lot of snaps to replace. Jack Campbell and Garrett Spek combined for more than 180 tackles from the inside ‘backer spots a year ago and Pat Runger added a career-high 59 on the outside.
The Headliners: One senior, four juniors and one sophomore are the top returning players in the battle for playing time at the three spots we’ll include here. The middle (MIKE LB) spot is likely to be handled by junior Jack Nosovitch and sophomore James Closser. Both have good size and the extended repetitions in the spring and during preseason camp should have them ready for the most significant playing time of their career.
Playing alongside Nosovitch or Closser at the other inside spot (BOB LB), will be juniors Robby Johnson and Cory Ohradzansky, who both played in all 12 games last season. Johnson posted 10 tackles, one interception and one pass breakup, while Ohradzansky was in on 20 tackles and added a pass breakup as well.
Senior Andrew Masucci rounds out the most experienced returning players on the inside; he has played in 20 career games and counts 17 tackles to his credit.
Junior Ian Lodge has emerged as the clear leader at the ZIP (OLB) and appears poised for a breakout season. Lodge played in all 12 games last season and totaled 19 tackles, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. He is solid against the run and has the speed and athleticism to drop into coverage as well. His emergence as an effective every-down player will be a key to the success of the Blue Jay defense this season.
Inside the Numbers
128 – Combined number of career games played by Jack Campbell, Garrett Spek and Pat Runger, who held down three of the starting spots on Hopkins’ second line of defense last season and must be replaced.
9 – Consecutive years in which Johns Hopkins has produced at least one First Team All-Centennial Conference linebacker.
3.65 – The key returning MIKE, BOB and ZIP ‘backers (noted above) combined to post a 3.65 GPA in the 2017 spring semester. Each had at least a 3.2 GPA in the spring and three posted above a 3.8.
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