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New Mexico State Football 2019 Position Previews: Linebacker

Who will join Fergurson and be a tackling machine in the center of the defense?

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Minnesota
Terrill Hanks is gone, who will be the new leader of the defense?
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Football is back!

Saturday rings in the first two FBS games of the season but I still have two more previews to put together, so it’s time to get back into the ole’ college procrastination mode and get these done!

The Aggie linebacker corps has been super productive the past two seasons and a lot of that production has graduated and gone on to other things. Here are the players that are returning and who has departed:

Returning: Javahn Fergurson, Devin Richardson, Jonathan Hood, Trevor Brohard, Shane Jackson, Jacob Wilson, Matthew Young, Jake Harrelson

Departing: Terrill Hanks, Leon McQuaker, Billy Nipp, Devin Richardson, Lui Fa’amasino

Incoming: Joshua Ferguson, Ja’Marvin Hartfield, Rashie Hodge Jr., Christian McKeever, Brennon Davis, Taylor Milton, Tyler Roebuck, Eric Marsh, Nick Giacolone, John Ramirez, Jacob Franklin, Dylan Grant, Michael Bowe Jr

As you can see, linebacker is a position of need heading into 2019 and beyond as the coaching staff brought in plenty of guys to compete for starting spots. There is some good size in the incoming group and a good mix of JUCO and freshman.

While there are many new faces, a few familiar ones are coming back. Javahn Fergurson, the NCAA leader in tackles per game last season, is back for his senior year hoping to build off his 132 tackle, 5.5 sack 2018 season. He has been named to the preseason Senior Bowl watch list and hopes to follow in Terrill Hanks’ footsteps and make it to the NFL.

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 10 New Mexico State at Ole Miss
Javahn Fergurson will look to build on his 2018 season which included 132 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and an interception.
Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

Another returning linebacker with experience is Jonathan Hood, who had 42 tackles last fall. You might notice that’s a big drop off from Fergurson’s numbers and you’d be right. Fergurson led the team in tackles and the next leading returning tackler had 65. The Aggie defense is losing three guys who had over 100 tackles last season, meaning the new guys will need to step up.

However, with the amount of talent being brought in, it shouldn’t be hard for Doug Martin and co. to find some new guys. I think this unit will be just as good, if not better than last year’s despite losing a lot of production.