This is part four of a six part season preview of the Villanova football team, each week there will be a new post focusing on a different position group.
Linebacker- Despite losing three year starter Osayi Osunde, the overwhelming strength of the Villanova defense will again be an experienced Linebacking corps. Terence Thomas, a starter since his first day on the Main Line was voted preseason CAA Defensive Player of The Year. Last season, Thomas led The 'Cats with 116 tackles and finished second on the team with 8.5 sacks. Lining up in the middle, next to Thomas is two time All-CAA pick Marquis Kirkland. Kirkland, who is coming off a monster game in December's national championship is a big thumper in the middle who is perhaps the key cog in the Villanova run defense. Playing the third linebacker position is not cemented, but it will likely be either Anthony Johnson, or Jacob Wade. Both Johnson and Wade have extensive playing time and should be able to transition into the defense nicely. This year, I expect the pass coverage to improve as Osunde was never the greatest in pass coverage and all of the potential starters played extensively in sub packages which should in theory make Villanova less susceptible to the intermediate pass. Other linebackers on the team such as Devon Bridges, and Delano Ferguson should be in the mix for serious minutes off the bench while contributing on special teams.