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FIU 2018 Outlook: Linebacker - Speed and size are a theme for the Panthers

How can a group that loses over 200 tackles from starters be even better in 2018? A couple position changes and a transfer may be the answer for Butch Davis.

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl - Florida International v Temple Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Previously: OL/DL

Continuing our position by position look at FIU heading into the Fall, let’s take a look at a linebacking group that loses standouts in Anthony Wint and Treyvon Williams to graduation.

Returnees: Fermin Silva (Sr)- 50 tackles and 7 sacks

Sage Lewis: (R-Jr)- 55 tackles and 5.5 TFL

Romelo Brooks: (Soph)- No statistics recorded

Brandon James: (Soph)- No statistics recorded

Danzel King: (Jr)- No statistics recorded

Jamal Gates: (Jr)- No statistics recorded

Tevin Jones: (R-Fr)- No statistics recorded

Texas v California
Texas grad transfer Edwin Freeman has the potential to have a breakout season in Miami.

Newcomers: Rocky Jacques-Louis (Fr)- Two-star prospect, Fort Myers-Dunbar

Donovan Georges: (Fr)- Three-star, Hialeah-Champagnat Catholic

Edwin Freeman: (Grad transfer)- 55 tackles and 3 sacks (In 21 games at Texas)

Heading into Fall: Usually when a team loses over 200 tackles from the linebacking group there isn’t room for optimism the next season. However, this year’s FIU unit has the potential to be very good.

The star of the group is Silva. Double digit sacks and over 70 tackles aren’t a reach. Sage Lewis moves inside to play the MIKE backer and should record 100 tackles.

The wildcard is Freeman. There’s zero doubts that he has the potential to be a baller. In five starts at Texas he recorded 35 tackles with 7 TFL’s, two sacks and an interception.

He’s a dynamic athlete with great size. If he can realize his potential, it would make the starting unit among the best of the G5’s.

The reserves are inexperienced but talented. James and Brooks are a pair of speedy linebackers from talent-rich Dade county. Georges is a three-star prospect who has the potential to see time as a true freshman.

Final Thought: Panther fans have reason for optimism with this group.

The backers along with the defensive line easily could be the best front seven in C-USA. Silva is a known commodity. Lewis and Freeman have something to prove and more than enough talent to show.

The reoccurring theme on the defensive side is depth. Butch Davis is stockpiling talent in a way that’s reminiscent to his late 90’s Hurricane teams. If James and Brooks are able to make strides as sophomores, the group will easily be five deep.

Position grade: B+. This grade has less to do with the starters and more to do with the lack of experience behind them.

Silva and Lewis alone are worthy of a B grade and if Freeman can realize his potential, this group can be downright scary.

However, while the reserves are talented, they are young. The positive for FIU fans is you’ve seen in two previous stops that when Butch Davis recruits, he has more hits than misses.