Four Linebackers, three spots. Between Jackson Gser, Steven Stiffland, Lee Chong, and Ekong Okafor, who is the odd one out? Luckily, I am here to answer the most burning question across the EFL (probably not). Who are the top three linebackers on Texas?
3. Lee Chong
Sitting at #3, Chong is the main ILB on this team. He excels at bringing the ball-carrier down and using his smarts on the field to make the best possible plays. Chong does not lack physically either. He is almost as strong and as fast as many of the OLBs out there. Not to mention that Chong is a 6'5, 255 pound beast. Chong is still a young player as he heads into his sophomore season and it is great to see him develop so quickly. A breakout year this year will certainly move him up the draft boards in the following year. Texas is glad to have this guy manning the middle and big #99 will look to make some plays out there.
2. Ekong Okafor
Looking at the 2nd spot, Okafor is not far behind Gser. Okafor has everything you want in a good college OLB, he's very strong and very fast. While he may not make too many plays in coverage, Okafor excels at tackling, and yes, sacks. Okafor's niche is catching the quarterback and there's no doubt about it. He is a 6'5, 240 pound guy who is on the lankier side, but his long arms help him reach for the ball-carrier. Okafor will look to bring some veteran leadership to this defense, as the proven senior can help his teammates immense. Look for this guy to get into some action on the field this year.
1. Jackson Gser
And coming in at our number one spot is none other than Jackson Gser. Like most OLBs, he has the speed to make plays on the field. However, unlike his counterpart in Okafor, Gser is not a pass-rusher. Instead, Gser is a jack-of-all-trades type of player that is crucial for every defense. He is agile enough to make those open-field tackles, while he has the hands to drop back in coverage and make sneaky interceptions. However, Gser is only 6'1 and 225 pounds but don't let that deter anyone from his talent. Like I said with Okafor, Gser is also a senior who will hopefully lead his team to some victories.
Honorable Mention - Steven Stiffland
Stiffland did not make the list this time around but he is a promising new recruit that looks to contribute to the team. From what we have seen so far, Stiffland has the same playstyle as Gser, where he is able to rush the passer but he can also make tackles and drop back into coverage. He is 6'3, 240 pounds but he looks to grow even more to prepare for the upcoming season. Stiffland has big shoes to fill so hopefully he can live up to his potential.
Conclusion: The difference is obvious between the veterans and the young guys but I believe that everyone of these players has much room to grow. Someday, it will be Chong and Stiffland leading the group of linebackers while Gser and Okafor will hopefully be enjoying their respective careers in the EFL.