There was much preseason hype about how a great crop of QBs was going to dominate the college season, but it has proved to be a pretty special season for linebackers, especially in the SEC. This week's Top 10 list: best linebackers. One caveat: There are a few hybrid guys out there -- most notably Texas A&M's DE/OLB Von Miller, the nation's leading sack man -- who could've fit in here, but because the NCAA lists some of them (such as Miller) as D-linemen, they're not grouped in here:
1. Rolando McClain, Alabama:
Before the season, I spoke to one SEC coach who has spent a lot of time studying McClain; the coach said the 6-foot-4, 258-pound junior is like Brian Urlacher -- but will be even better. Big talk, but NFL scouts have been fawning over McClain from the moment coach Nick Saban plugged him into his defense. Teammate Javier Arenas said this of his teammate:
- "Picture coach Saban being huge and able to play football. That's what it's like out there."
That is one of the better quotes we've seen all season. Another teammate, Heisman contender Mark Ingram, says McClain would get his Heisman vote if he had one. McClain also leads the SEC's top run defense and is second in the country in tackles with 57. He also has two INTs and two sacks.
To see who else Bruce Feldman has on his list of top linebackers in America -- and for some new information on Notre Dame in 2010 with regard to the QB slot -- you must be an ESPN Insider.