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Linebackers loaded with speed

Davis brings playmaking ability to improved group

August 3, 2011 · Athletic Communications

Headlines
Key Losses: Antwan Davis
Key Returner: Darin Davis is the senior leader of a unit expected to be much improved and a lot faster in 2011. Davis is coming off a career year where he was second on the team in tackles while also coming up with three interceptions for 139 yards.

Battle to Watch: No one has really locked down a spot but the most interesting to observe in the fall will be the Mike position. Stephen Roberts, Corey Carmichael, and Christian Henry will be fighting for time in the fall. Roberts is the odds-on favorite but is unproven due to injuries.

Spring Standout: Sophomore David Jones finally looks comfortable after making the transition from running back to linebacker a year ago. Jones, who played mainly on special teams last year, is ready to contribute. He plays extremely hard and was voted the most improved player in the spring among the linebackers. Jones' willingness to be coached was evident in the spring so look for a breakout year from this talented Blue Raider.

Coach Cauthen on the linebackers
"The core of this group is young but very athletic. They have good size and their best weapon might be speed. I have about 10 guys I am comfortable with so we are getting the depth we have to have to compete at this level. Overall, it is a very inexperienced unit with only two seniors but the future looks very bright at Middle Tennessee at linebacker. I am really excited about coaching all of them this season and watching their progression."

Players
Sam
DARIN DAVIS
(Senior) - A leader who guys look to and he relishes that role ... Is the grandfather of the linebackers ... Has added weight, is fast, and is the most experienced of the group ... Needs to improve conditioning level.

DAVID JONES (r-Sophomore) - Plays with a high motor and is coming off a very productive spring ... Really enjoys the game ... Needs to improve on controlling his body position.

JONATHAN BROOKS (r-Freshman) - Young and inexperienced but very athletic ... Needs to improve his football intelligence ... Best football is ahead of him.

Mike
STEPHEN ROBERTS
(r-Sophomore) - Has yet to see the field after being redshirted then missing last year with an injury ... Limited during the spring but has the body you want at the position.

COREY CARMICHAEL (Sophomore) - Saw a lot of action as a true freshman last year ... Solid, hard-nosed, tough competitor ... Needs to work on consistency.

CHRISTIAN HENRY (r-Freshman) - Has the desire to be a very good football player ... Athletic and can run ... Best football is ahead of him ... Needs to continue improving his knowledge of the defense.

NORMAN WASHINGTON (r-Senior) - Steady player who has played in 34 career games ... Will see time on special teams as well.

Will
CRAIG ALLEN
(r-Sophomore) - A very athletic player who loves to play the game ... Saw action in all 13 games last year ... Needs to play with better pad level.

JUSTIN JONES (Junior) - Can run and likes to hit ... Was fourth on the team in tackles a year ago ... A solid linebacker who will push for the starting job ... Needs to be more consistent.

LEIGHTON GASQUE (r-Freshman) - Young, athletic, and loves to play the game ... Runs well and is very smart ... Needs to improve his knowledge of the defense.

Returners
35 Craig Allen r-So. Will
33 Roderic Blunt r-So. Mike
48 Jonathan Brooks r-Fr. Sam
44 Corey Carmichael So. Mike
59 Darin Davis Sr. Sam
40 Leighton Gasque r-Fr. Will
28 Christian Henry r-Fr. Mike
22 David Jones r-So. Sam
32 Justin Jones Jr. Will
30 Stephen Roberts r-So. Mike
56 *Norman Washington r-Sr. Mike

Newcomers
52 Ykeem Wells Fr. Will
*Timothy Yarbrough r-So. Mike
*Nonscholarship

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