SPRING FOOTBALL UPDATE: A LOOK AT THE LINEBACKERS
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ- Continuing coverage of Monmouth football’s 2017 spring season, MonmouthHawks.com takes a look at the Hawks’ linebacking corps, including an interview with LB Coach Andrew Kirkland and junior Diego Zubieta.
Monmouth returns a number of players at the linebacker positions, but will have to replace three-year starter and all-conference performer Payton Minnich (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East) and the team’s third leading tackler in Brandon Wharton (Ijamsville, MD/Urbana). Minnich racked up 199 tackles while appearing in 43 games for the Blue White, however juniors Diego Zubieta (Newton Square, PA/Penncrest) and Tre Nelson (Palmerton, PA/Palmerton) have appeared in all 22 games in 2015 and 2016.
“While this group of linebackers is relatively young, they do have some significant game experience,” said Monmouth Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “Tre Nelson and Diego Zubieta played in every game over the last two seasons, and Evan Powell saw significant time as a freshman in 2016. Shamar Shanks is freshman who is making progress at the position, and upperclassmen Christian Runza, Carl File and Adham Hasan are competing for playing time as well.”
Zubieta, and explosive tackler, has amassed 53 tackles in two seasons including 7.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. Like Zubieta, Nelson also played some defensive end as a freshman while picking up 37 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss in 22 career contests. Senior linebacker Christian Runza (Norwood, NJ/Old Tappan) appeared in 10 games last year on special teams and on defense while true freshman Evan Powell (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) played in eight contests with a start. Powell had 28 tackles and a fumble recovery in 2016 to lead a talented crop of freshmen, one which includes Baltimore native Shamar Shanks (Baltimore, MD/Gilman). Shanks did not appear in any contests in 2016 but has had a productive spring thus far and should get on to the field for the Hawks as a sophomore.
Practice #10 starts up tomorrow at 8:30 AM, MU will be in helmets and shoulder pads. The Monmouth Digital Network will be filming a ‘Mic’d Up’ segment with wide receiver’s coach TJ DiMuzio.
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