Position Glance: Linebackers
Aug. 5, 2017

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Position Coach: Nick Holt

Returning Starters: Markus Bailey (So.), Ja'Whaun Bentley (Sr.), Danny Ezechukwu (5th)
Other Returning Letterwinners: Garrett Hudson (5th)
Others: Derrick Barnes (Fr.), Sawyer Dawson (So.), Semisi Fakasiieiki (R-Fr.), Cornel Jones (Fr.), Tobias Larry (Fr.), T.J. McCollum (Gr.), Rob Simmons (Jr.), Jonah Williams (Fr.)

At A Glance: A position of depth and strength for the Boilermakers, as all three starters from last season return and a graduate transfer that has played in the Brohm/Holt defense and a number of talented newcomers have joined the corps. Bailey, as a redshirt freshman, led Purdue with 97 total tackles, including 61 solo, and four interceptions. Bentley, despite missing three games, finished fifth on the team with 50 tackles, including 7.0 for loss, in 2016. Ezechukwu, who appeared in all 12 games and made four starts last season, finished fourth on the team with 52 tackles. McCollum, who transferred to Purdue from Western Kentucky, started 11 games for the Hilltoppers last season and finished the year with 85 total stops. He led WKU with 106 tackles, including a team-best 11.5 for loss, in 2015.

Fun Fact: Bentley and Ezechukwu were voted team captains by their teammates earlier this week. It is the first time leading the team for Ezechukwu and the third for Bentley. Bentley is the first three-time team captain in school history.

Nick Holt Says: "We need to find our best 11, really our best 22, defenders. If that means four linebackers on the field, so be it. Or five linebackers on the field, so be it. We need to get the best guys on the field in a position to do what they do best to give us a chance to be successful."

Linebacker Markus Bailey Says: "There are high expectations from everyone in our program for the linebackers to produce this year. We have all the tools and potential to be really good this year, but we need to put it all on the field. I'm not going to say we're going to do this or that, we just need to go out there and work, keep our mouth shut and work and see what happens."

Practice Notes: The team was in helmets and shoulder pads for the first time in fall camp, something that Holt says allowed the defense to play "real football." Head coach Jeff Brohm liked the intensity, especially on a winner-take-all play in the middle of practice. The team will not practice Sunday, before returning to the field Monday, again in helmets and shoulder pads. Full pads are expected for the first time Tuesday.



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