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Oklahoma position grades: Linebacker

Before the Sooners' 31-14 win over Iowa in the Insight Bowl, Jake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon analyzed each Oklahoma position group. Now, the SoonerNation staff is giving each position a grade for its performance in 2011.

Grade: B

Had they been healthy all season, who knows what kind of seasons Tom Wort and Travis Lewis would have had. Problem was, they weren’t. Until the Insight Bowl, Lewis wasn’t the same player after suffering a preseason broken toe. Outside Frank Alexander, Wort was as prolific as any OU defender early in the season. But he too was derailed by an array of injuries. Corey Nelson didn’t live up to his spring billing, but still had a nice sophomore season, while Kellen Jones and Jaydan Bird filled in nicely in the middle when Wort couldn’t go.

- Jake Trotter

Grade: B+

When healthy, the Sooners had one of the most athletic group of linebackers in the nation. Problem was, they weren’t healthy for a good portion of the season. The senior Lewis played with a broken toe and Wort battled various injuries for much of the season. Wort was one of the most improved players on the team and Lewis remained productive even though it was clear he wasn’t 100 percent and Tony Jefferson is one of the top young players in the Big 12. Fellow sophomore Nelson also has the chance to be a star and showed his playmaking ability this season. Questionable tackling at times drops this grade below an A.

- Brandon Chatmon

Grade: B-

Not fair to grade Lewis because it was a gutty performance all season playing with that injured toe. But since he was out there, he didn’t bring it every single game. Wort plays like the Ultimate Warrior but his health in the future could be a cause for concern. The future is Nelson, who looks like he is on the verge of becoming a star, and Jones could become a name to watch.

- Bob Przybylo

Grade: B-

OU's linebackers underwhelmed in 2011, mostly due to injuries -- all three starters had some sort of a ailment -- but also due to the scheme in which they played. Wort, for instance, was consistently overpowered by centers and guards in the Sooners' 3-4 set which contributed to his injuries and the group's overall up-and-down play. But they showed flashes at times which should provide a positive outlook for 2012.

- Dane Beavers

What do you think?