Spring Preview: Linebackers
March 10, 2016

Minnesota has 11 linebackers on its spring roster, which includes nine who played the position last season, one who is a defensive back convert in Blake Cashman and one who enrolled in January in Thomas Barber.

The Gophers lost De’Vondre Campbell to graduation, but the linebacker corps is one of the deepest positions on the Minnesota roster. It should once again be anchored by senior captain Jack Lynn and junior Cody Poock. Lynn played in all 13 games last season and started 10 of them. He led the Gophers with 11.0 tackles-for-loss and recorded 76 tackles, which was fourth-best on the team. Lynn also added 1.5 sacks, broke up two passes, forced one fumble and recovered one fumble as he was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by the conference media.

Poock started eight games and played in 12. He finished the season with 99 tackles, which was second on the team, as he received Minnesota’s Linebacker of the Year award. Poock notched 5.5 tackles-for-loss and also forced one fumble and he too was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by media who covered the Big Ten.

Nick Rallis is entering his fifth and final season as a Gopher in 2016. The Edina, Minn., native played in all 13 games last season and saw action on special teams and on defense. He made 18 tackles, which included 3.0 tackles-for-loss. Rallis came on strong at the end of the season when he saw extended playing time on defense. He made a career-high nine tackles – including 2.5 tackles-for-loss – against Wisconsin and notched four tackles against Central Michigan.

Jonathan Celestin started three games last season and played in all 13. The hard-hitting Celestin made 43 tackles and 4.0 tackles-for-loss. He also forced one fumble and broke up one pass as a sophomore. He ended the season with a team-high six tackles against Central Michigan.

Everett Williams made 11 tackles last year, as he played in seven games and started two as a sophomore. He also broke up one pass.

Julian Huff played in all 13 games last season and started the first game of the year against TCU. Huff, who was used primarily as a late-down rush specialist, made 22 tackles last season that included 2.5 sacks. He also broke up one pass and recovered one fumble.

Blake Weber played in nine games last season, but primarily saw action on special teams. Rayfield Dixon did not see any game action last season. Jaylen Waters redshirted last year as a freshman.

Cashman moved from defensive back to linebacker after last season. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native played in all 13 games last season as he saw action mostly on special teams. He ended the season with four tackles, which included a 0.5 tackle-for-loss at Purdue on defense.

Barber attended Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minn., and was a three-year letterwinner before enrolling at Minnesota in January. He played linebacker and running back for the Falcons and is the son of former Gopher running back Marion Barber and the brother of former Gopher running back Marion Barber III and defensive back Dom Barber.
 

 

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