The Big 12's returning tacklers: Part II
These numbers don't guarantee success (even bad defenses have to make tackles eventually), but you can in some ways guarantee some progress.
So who's coming back from where? Let's look closer.
- The Cowboys lost Alex Elkins, who tied for the team lead with 75 tackles, but its next three top tacklers will all return as seniors in 2013.
- All three are defensive backs with a lot talent in safeties Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary, as well as cornerback Justin Gilbert.
- Cornerback Brodrick Brown is gone, and so is defensive lineman Ryan Robinson.
- Overall, Oklahoma State returns eight of its top 11 tacklers.
- Linebacker Kenny Cain made 86 tackles a year ago and was a solid performer on a TCU defense loaded with stars. He's gone. The rest of the defense?
- TCU returns 23 of its top 25 tacklers, which is just about everyone. Defensive end Stansly Maponga elected to enter the draft early, and he's the only other loss.
- TCU returns six defenders who had at least 50 tackles. The Frogs were forced to play more freshmen and sophomores than ever under Gary Patterson last season, and now we may see those growing pains pay off. Those "growing pains," by the way, didn't keep TCU from finishing atop the Big 12 in total defense a year ago.
- Top tackler Kenny Vaccaro (96 tackles) is gone, and the team's No. 4 tackler, DE Alex Okafor, is also gone. Okafor led the team in tackles for loss.
- Those are the only losses for the Longhorns, who will have high expectations for the defense again next season.
- Texas returns 23 of its top 25 tacklers from last season, and gets defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat back on the field after missing half the season with a pectoral injury. He made 28 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss in Texas' first six games.
- The Red Raiders' top two tacklers are gone in starting safeties Cody Davis (101 tackles) and D.J. Johnson (90 tackles).
- Tech returns its next three top tacklers in defensive lineman Kerry Hyder and linebackers Will Smith and Sam Eguavoen.
- The rest of Tech's defense is ready to roll after 2012. Thirteen of the team's top 16 tacklers return overall.
- The Mountaineers' top two tacklers were freshmen last year, and both Karl Joseph and Isaiah Bruce return after combining for 192 tackles.
- The back seven of the defense loses three of its top tacklers from a year ago in linebacker Terence Garvin and Josh Francis and defensive back Pat Miller.
- Overall, nine of West Virginia's 12 tacklers return.
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