The Top 15 Linebackers in the ACC for 2019

(Photo: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

The Pypeline Top 15 Linebackers in the ACC rankings are out. These are the playmakers in the middle of the defense. The talent and athleticism of these guys is something to watch. Many of these guys will eventually be playing on Sunday. So without further ado, these are the linebackers to watch in the ACC.

1. Isaiah Simmons – Clemson

Simmons is one of the best athletes at linebacker in college football. He can play linebacker or defensive back. Last season Simmons had 97 tackles, making him the leading returning tackler for the Tigers in 2019. He also added 1.5 sacks, 9.5 TFL & 1 int. He’s great in coverage and has the speed to run down receivers in space.

2. Shaquille Quarterman – Miami

Quarterman is the leading returning tackler for the Canes in 2019. Last season he had 82 tackles, 6 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 1 int. He’s the leader of the defense and has an incredible ability to diagnose plays and get the defense set up in all the right spots.

3. Michael Pinckney – Miami

Pinckney has been one of the best linebackers in college football the past few seasons. Last year, he had 74 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 1 interception. When you think of the “Turnover Chain,” you think of Pinckney.

4. Rayshard Ashby – Virginia Tech

2018 Stats: 105 tackles, 1 sack, 9.5 TFL, 2 pass breakups. Ashby is a tackling machine. He’s not the biggest, not the fastest, but his awareness and ability to diagnose plays and tackling skills are unmatched.

5. Justin Strnad – Wake Forest

Strnad is the leading returning tackler for the Demon Deacons in 2019. Last season, he had 105 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss and 5 pass breakups. He’s excellent vs the run and excels in pass coverage. Remember the name!

6. Jordan Mack – Virginia

2018 Stats: 66 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 6 TFL, 5 QB hits. Mack is one of the hardest hitters in college football. When he lays the boom, the opposition feels it. Expect the senior to have a big season in 2019 and top his numbers from 2017.

7. Dontavious Jackson – Florida State

2018 Stats: 75 tackles, 1 sacks, 7 TFL, 3 PBUs, 1 int. Jackson is a solid tackler who constantly gets into the backfield. His quickness allows him to constantly beat offensive tackles around the edge to get to the quarterback.

8. Charles Snowden – Virginia

2018 Stats: 61 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7.5 TFL, 9 PBUs, 2 ints. Snowden is a freak athlete at 6’7″ 225 lbs. He legit has 1st round NFL Draft potential if he grows into his body. He bats down a lot of passes and is great in coverage. Talent and potential wise, Snowden is right up there with Isaiah Simmons.

9. Isaiah McDuffie – Boston College

McDuffie is the leading returning tackler for the Eagles in 2019. Last season, McDuffie had 85 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss and 2 pass breakups.

10. Hamsah Nasirildeen – Florida State

Nasirildeen is the leading returning tackler for the Seminoles in 2019. Last season, he had 91 tackles, 2 pass breakups and 1 int. He’s excellent in pass coverage and can also play safety.

11. Max Richardson – Boston College

2018 Stats: 76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 2 PBU. Richardson is one of those players who just knows how to play the game. He’s a hard worker off the field and it translates on the field. He’s not the biggest or fastest, but he’s constantly making plays.

12. Dorian Etheridge – Louisville

2018 stats (sophomore): 55 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 PBUs.

2017 stats (freshman): 72 tackles, 3 TFL.

Etheridge is a tackling monster. He’s the second leading returning tackler for the Cardinals in 2019. He started as a freshman made a big impact. This season as a junior,xpect another big season from Etheridge.

13. Dax Hollifield – Virginia Tech

Hollifield had a breakout season in 2018 as a true freshman. He had 62 tackles, 2 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, and 1 pass breakup. Dax has a ton of talent and with more opportunities this season, expect him to become a household name.

14. Isaiah Moore – NC State

Moore had a huge 2018 season as a freshman. Last year he had 69 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and 6 QB hits. Moore has a lot of potential and upside so expect him to be Top 10 on this list next season.

15. CJ Avery – Louisville

Avery a very talented and promising 4⭐ recruit showed why he was rated as one of the best safeties in the 2017 class. Last season, as a linebacker he had 56 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions. He’s only just getting started so remember his name!

Just Missed:

  • Zane Zandier – UVA
  • Robert Snyder – UVA
  • Dylan Rivers – VT
  • Dominique Ross – UNC
  • Elias Reynolds – Pitt
  • Zach McCloud – Miami
  • Rodjay Burns – Louisville
  • Decalon Brooks – Florida State
  • Charlie Thomas – Georgia Tech