Ultimate Michigan Football Roster: Linebackers


Nov 22, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Maryland Terrapins running back

Wes Brown

(4) is tackled by Michigan Wolverines linebacker

Jake Ryan

(47) in the second half at Michigan Stadium. Maryland won 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue with our reveal of the Ultimate Michigan Football roster, we stay on the defensive side of the ball, and move on to the linebackers. For this roster there will be four outside linebackers and three middle linebackers. It will be a modern 4-3 defense with two linebackers starting on the outside and one in the middle. Keep in mind that only these players’ Michigan careers are considered when coming up with the roster.

Starting Middle Linebacker- The starting middle linebacker is Ron Simpkins. Simpkins played at Michigan from 1976-79 under the legendary Bo Schembechler. Simpkins led the Wolverines in tackles for three consecutive seasons from 1976-79. In ’79 he was named Michigan’s team MVP and was also a first team All-American. Simpkins ranks first all-time in Michigan history in total tackles.

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Backup Middle Linebackers- The backup middle linebackers are Jarrett Irons and Sam Sword.  Irons played at Michigan from 1993-96 first under Gary Moeller and then Lloyd Carr. Irons was a two-time team captain, and was named a consensus All-American in 1996. He ranks second all-time at Michigan in total tackles. Sword played under Lloyd Carr at Michigan from 1995-98, and was a starter on the 1997 National Championship winning team. He was also the leading tackler on that ’97 team. Sword was first team All-Big Ten in ’97 and second team All-Big Ten in ’98.

Starting Outside Linebackers- The starting outside linebackers are Erick Anderson and Larry Foote. Anderson was an inside linebacker at Michigan, but could easily play on the outside in a modern 4-3 defense. He played at Michigan from 1988-91 first under Bo Schembechler and then Gary Moeller. He led the Wolverines in tackles all four years he was at the school. As a senior he was a first team All-American, and won both the Butkus Award and Jack Lambert Trophy. Foote was a versatile linebacker under Lloyd Carr from 1998-2001. He finished his career ranked fourth all-time in tackles for loss at Michigan, with 44. As a senior he was named a first team All-American by Football News.

Backup Outside Linebackers- The backup outside linebackers are Calvin O’Neal and Victor Hobson. O’Neal is another guy who played inside linebacker at Michigan, but could easily play outside linebacker. He played under Bo Schembechler from 1973-76. For the ’76 season O’Neal was a team captain, and was named a consensus All-American. Hobson played under Lloyd Carr from 1999-2002, and ranks third all-time in Michigan history in tackles for loss, with 47. He was a second team All-Big Ten selection in 2001 and a first team selection in 2002. Hobson could do it all at linebacker, excelling in every aspect of the game.

Next: Ultimate Michigan Roster: Defensive Line