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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Grading the positions: Linebackers

By Sam Khan Jr.

In the weeks leading up to Texas A&M's bowl game, GigEmNation will take a look back at how the Aggies performed position by position and give each group a grade based on that performance. Today, we look at the linebackers.

GradeHighlights: This was one of the most experienced position groups on the team, with seniors (Sean Porter, Jonathan Stewart) and a junior (Steven Jenkins) starting. Stewart led the group in tackles with 72 (good for second on the team). Porter was a leader and a playmaker (5.5 tackles for loss) and brought a sense of urgency to the defense and the team, which was important to the Aggies' success. Jenkins (70 tackles, five tackles for loss) was also a playmaker who came up big on several occasions. Sophomore Donnie Baggs, who played in 11 of 12 games and started one, was a capable reserve who earned the trust of the coaching staff. He collected 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in part-time duty.

Lowlights: Jenkins was suspended for a game for a "violation of team rules" over the summer. He ended up sitting out the Louisiana Tech game. There were some games where stopping the run was an issue (the Aggies yielded 219 yards on the ground to LSU, 165 to Louisiana Tech and 159 to Mississippi come to mind).

Surprises: There didn't seem to be a ton of surprises. Solid play was expected from the group and that's what it delivered. Stewart and Porter started all 12 games and Jenkins started nine while appearing in 11.

Grade: B-plus. The linebackers were an overall steady group with a good performance throughout the year. Credit linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt for the solid job he did as well.