2024 ACC LB Rankings: Clemson’s Barrett Carter Takes Baton From Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

    Does Barrett Carter, Power Echols, DJ Lundy, or a transfer addition head the 2024 ACC LB Rankings? There's no shortage of talent to choose from.

    The conference’s top linebackers, NC State’s Payton Wilson and Clemson’s Jeremiah Trotter Jr., left for the NFL, but transfers and program additions shore up the 2024 ACC LB Rankings. But which returner earns the top spot?

    ACC 2024 LB Rankings

    10) Branson Combs, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    Allow me to introduce you to one of the best FCS linebackers of the last two years: Branson Combs. The 6’3″ and 222-pounder is a smooth mover in the open field and can operate from the slot.

    Since 2022, he has registered 11 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, four INTs, and 10 PBUs. What Combs lacks as a downhill bruiser, he makes up for as a sure tackler and coverage demon.

    9) Kobe Wilson, SMU Mustangs

    After three years as a rotational LB at Temple, Kobe Wilson transferred to SMU and broke out alongside Ahmad Walker, who we’ll discuss later in the 2024 ACC LB Rankings. Wilson loves doing the dirty work in the box, sifting through the trash, and meeting RBs in the hole. He’s also an effective blitzer and a high-energy defender who sets the tone for the defense.

    8) Liam Johnson, Cal Bears

    Liam Johnson has recorded 177 tackles, 10 TFLs, four sacks, two INTs, five PBUs, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one blocked kick, quite literally filling the stat sheet.

    As the 2022 Bushnell Cup Winner (Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year) and a two-time first-team All-Ivy defender, Johnson has more than earned his opportunity to jump from Princeton to Cal in the ACC.

    7) Kam Arnold, Boston College Eagles

    Entering his fourth year as a starter, Kam Arnold is one of the most experienced LBs in the ACC and Boston College’s defensive leader. The former safety’s movement skills and violence are his trademarks, and he utilizes both of them when defending the run and dropping in coverage.

    6) DJ Lundy, Florida State Seminoles

    DJ Lundy is a bit of a throwback thumper at 6’1″ and 240 pounds, knocking back linemen and throwing RBs aside with ease. Of course, his coverage ability has limited his reps, allowing other LBs to receive playing time over him. Yet, Lundy has grown in that area, growing a better feel in zone and understanding when to swivel his head around.

    5) Francisco Mauigoa, Miami Hurricanes

    Francisco Mauigoa began his collegiate career at Washington State, earning a starting spot in 2022. However, he transferred to Miami last offseason to play with his younger brother Francis, who was a five-star OT in the 2023 class.

    MORE: 2024 ACC Regular-Season Win Totals

    In his first season with Hurricanes, the eldest Mauigoa accumulated 82 tackles, 18 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles, using his explosiveness and length to disrupt offenses all over the field.

    4) Teddye Buchanan, Cal Bears

    Turn on the film, and you’ll have UC Davis transfer Teddye Buchanan in your top-five 2024 ACC LB Rankings, too. He joins Cal after racking up 208 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, four sacks, eight INTs (one pick-six), 14 PBUs, and 14 forced fumbles on his résumé.

    The 2023 second-team All-Big Sky selection is a turnover machine, with an innate ability to lock onto the ball in coverage and ball carriers in run defense.

    3) Ahmad Walker, SMU Mustangs

    After flashing his physical gifts at Liberty as a true freshman and sophomore, Ahmad Walker put it all together at SMU last season. His stat line of 65 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, one sack, and five PBUs isn’t gaudy, but he’s a relentless run defender who flies through gaps and lays the lumber on unsuspecting ball carriers.

    Although crashing in the box is his favorite pastime, Walker has no issue sticking to pass catchers, limiting YAC, and rarely allowing receptions downfield.

    2) Power Echols, North Carolina Tar Heels

    Fresh off back-to-back 100-tackle campaigns, Power Echols is the most productive LB returning to the ACC. At 6’0″ and 225 pounds, Echols doesn’t have the suffocating length or overwhelming power some other LBs have, but he’s an explosive mover who showed vast improvements as a coverage defender in 2023.

    1) Barrett Carter, Clemson Tigers

    The walking epitome of a modern linebacker with the size, speed, and power to be a chess piece on defense, Barrett Carter checks all the boxes. Blitz him off the edge, have him cover from the slot, or send him to fill gaps in the run game from the box — Carter can do it all.

    KEEP READING: 2024 ACC QB Rankings

    Last year was his first playing full-time at the second level, and there were some growing pains, but he will only improve in Year 2. 

    2024 ACC LB Rankings | 11-20

    11) Wade Woodaz, Clemson
    12) TJ Quinn, Louisville
    13) Dylan Hazen, Wake Forest
    14) Kam Robinson, Virginia
    15) Marlowe Wax, Syracuse
    16) Sean Brown and Caden Fordham, North Carolina State
    17) Brandon George and Keye Thompson, Pittsburgh
    18) Kyle Efford, Georgia Tech
    19) Sam Brumfield, Virginia Tech
    20) Jaylin Alderman and Wesley Bissainthe,
    Miami

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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