Linebacker - Gone are WAC Defensive Player of the Year Korey Hall and second-team All-WAC pick Colt Brooks. But returning are a slew of young and talented linebackers who ultimately could make the unit deeper and better.
After splitting time at one outside linebacker spot, juniors Kyle Gingg (5-11, 220) and David Shields (6-1, 220) will start, the question is where. Gingg, who finished fifth on the team in tackles as a sophomore with 50, while also registering 4.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two pass break ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, is the swing man. He will either start at outside linebacker or middle linebacker depending on who steps in as the third starter.
Shields finished the season ninth in tackles with 44, while totaling 5.0 tackles for loss and a pass break up and will start at one outside linebacker spot.
Who starts at the third linebacker spot determines where Gingg plays. Heading into fall camp, junior Tim Brady (6-1, 207) and redshirt freshman Derrell Acrey (6-2, 230) will battle to be the third starter. If Acree wins the battle Gingg will play outside opposite of Shields, if Brady, who had 10 tackles last season, wins the spot then Gingg will play middle linebacker and be flanked by Brady and Shields. Either way, Bronco coaches expect the four to see a lot a playing time.
Junior Dallas Dobbs (6-2, 219) spent time on special teams and as a backup linebacker making four tackles with one tackle for loss.
Junior Ellis Powers (5-10, 206) moves from safety to linebacker. Last season on special teams and as a defensive back Powers had 12 tackles. Senior Mike Altieri (5-11, 224) will return in the fall to compete for playing time. He missed most of last season after suffering an injury in the season’s first game.
Senior Josh Bean (6-2, 229) will serve as a backup at middle linebacker. Bean, one of the team’s best specials teams players, offers the Broncos experience after backing up Korey Hall the last three seasons. Bean finished his junior season with 18 tackles at linebacker and on special teams.
Freshman Ben Chandler (6-3, 223), who gray shirted last season, joined the Broncos in January and could redshirt with the Broncos to provide depth at the position. True freshmen Aaron Tevis (6-3, 215) and Hunter White (5-11, 205) will play outside linebacker and most likely redshirt.