February 28, 2007
Linebackers will need to step up in 2007
It has been the stated goal of head coach Tim Brewster to bring a more attacking style of defense to Minnesota. To accomplish this they will need to see increased production across the board from the linebackers. There will likely be more pressure put on the linebackers to both put pressure on the quarterback and cover potential receivers. The biggest question may be does Minnesota have the athletes to do it?
Returning starters Mike Sherels, John Shevlin (6 games), Deon Hightower (8 games)
After losing nearly 30 pounds prior to last season, senior to be Mike Sherels had a very solid season in 2006. He led the team in tackles with 104 and had a knack for making big plays when it counted (see: Goal line interception against Iowa). He has started 19 games in the middle over the last two years. Sherels is not the fastest or most athletic linebacker, but his work ethic and propensity for making plays should impress the new staff.
On the other end of the athletic spectrum from Sherels is Deon Hightower. He might only weigh 200 pounds soaking wet, but he is fast and always around the ball. For a little guy he is not afraid to lay stick his helmet in an opponents chest and lay a guy out. Tied for third on the team with 74 total tackles.
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