April 9, 2009
Two-thirds of one of the deepest and most talented positions on the team last season return in 2009 and will be joined by a junior who turned in one of the top defensive performances in the season finale. Senior linebackers Will Patterson and Matt Mayberry will be joined by Tyler Replogle, who replaces four-year starter Geno Johnson at the strong-side position.
Patterson, who will miss spring practice with a wrist injury, was named captain prior to the 2008 campaign and finished fourth on the team with 55 tackles (42 solos) despite missing nearly three games with a knee injury. He is second on the team since the 2006 season with 200 total tackles (Austin Thomas, 2002) and first with 127 solos. Patterson started nine games at weak-side linebacker and posted 8.5 tackles for loss, which shared second on the club, with one interception and one fumble recovery.
Mayberry, in his first season as a starter patrolling the middle, led the team and finished 10th in the Big Ten with 89 tackles a year ago. He became the first member of the front seven to lead IU in tackles since 2005 (Kyle Killion). Mayberry also finished second with five sacks and shared second with 8.5 tackles for loss, as he started all 12 games.
Replogle finished the season with 26 tackles over the last two Saturdays, including a team season-high 19 tackles, nine solo, with the first sack of his career at Purdue. He earned the Terry P. Cole "Impact Player" Award as the team's most outstanding player in the Old Oaken Bucket game. Replogle, who appeared in 11 games and was named the team's special teams player of the year, finished with 38 tackles, 20 solo, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Fifth-year senior Justin Carrington
will fill in for Patterson during spring ball. In his second full season at linebacker after his conversion from running back, he appeared in all 12 games and finished 2008 with 28 tackles, 18 solo, two pass breakups and a half-sack.
Redshirt freshman Chad Sherer, IU's 2008 co-defensive scout team player of the year, sits No. 2 on the depth chart behind Replogle. In the middle, sophomores Darius Johnson and Ian Reeves will back up Mayberry. Johnson saw action in every game last season, while Reeves received playing time in 10 of the team's 12 contests.