Low points: Early start to the season, Trey Brown's lack of impact,
Final Grade: A
One could argue that an A grade from the linebackers can stem from just one player's performance, and well yes, yes it does.
Alvin Jones had a banner year, and was wrongfully snubbed from all C-USA honors.
Jones finished the season in a three-way tie for tops in the league in tackle for losses with 14.5, he was sixth in the league in sacks, and forced three safeties. #production
His production also led Jimmy Musgrave to have a nice season as well.
Musgrave and Jones combined for 20.3% of UTEP tackles, Musgrave finished in the top-50 in the C-USA in total tackles adding a forced fumble to his season stat line.
Even with the production those two provided, the linebackers havoc rate was a modest 3.3%, but the overall play was solid, particularly in the second half of the season like much of the entire UTEP defense.
The only disappointing mark was behind Jones, and Musgrave. Production tapered off from senior Trey Brown, and another productive name out of a few possible down the depth chart did not come about.
Depending on where UTEP decides to go schematically next season, Alvin Jones is a legit piece to build your defense around for the next two seasons.
Only problem the Miners will have is finding compliments to his production for the future, especially if UTEP goes to a traditional 4-3.
Musgrave will be greatly missed for a number of reasons.
He was a clutch tacker (See NMSU game), he brought an intensity from the linebacking spot we hadn't seen in a long time at a UTEP. And most importantly all of his intangibles were infectious to the linebacker meeting room over the past two years.
Jones will be the returning stud in 2016 after a banner 2015, developing a side kick or two is crucial for the linebacker group going forward.
Key losses: Jimmy Musgrave, Trey Brown
Key Returners: Alvin Jones, Cooper Foster, Stephen Forrester, Justen Tautm, Tyler Leasau
2016 commits: Luke Termin (ATH)
|LB Havoc Rate||3.3%||97||4.6%|
Individual Defensive Stats
|Name||Pos||Ht, Wt||Year||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Alvin Jones||LB||5'11, 220||SO||70.5||12.7%||14.5||6.5||0||0||0||0|
|Jimmy Musgrave||LB||6'0, 240||SR||42.5||7.6%||7.5||2.0||0||1||1||0|