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Coffee House: Why Michigan's 2020 Linebacker Haul Is Special

The game is changing.

College football is undergoing an evolution of sorts as more and more teams are implementing spread and air raid concepts. Heck, even the NFL is going the same way as evidenced by its obsession with Sean McVay and its new darling, Kliff Kingsbury.

Perhaps no conference resembles what the future of the sport may become than the very pass happy Big 12. Offenses are wide-open and high-flying and defense is hard to come by.

The transformation has affected one position much more than any others — linebacker. What used to be a position of bigger thumpers is now made up of athletic hybrids that can cover.

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Four-star linebacker Cornell Wheeler is committed to Michigan.
Four-star linebacker Cornell Wheeler is committed to Michigan.

Teams in the Big 12, for example, have specific roles for those that best fit the profile. Texas has the ‘Joker,’ which is basically a box safety in its 3-2-6 lighting package, while TCU has an unorthodox strong safety in its vaunted 4-2-5 scheme.

Recruiting the position has become a daunting task for teams across the country, regardless of conference affiliation. The number of quality prospects that can play linebacker at a high level and serve as an extra defensive back is limited.

Simply put, linebacker might be the most premium position on the recruiting trail.

While the Big Ten is certainly not the Big 12 and the game much more resembles football in its purest form, finding high-level linebackers is a must, especially in Michigan’s scheme.

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