The linebacker position has been pretty weak for Purdue since about 2003, but thanks to a true freshman it looks like there will be vast improvement coming soon. That freshman was Ja'Whaun Bentley, who was named to ESPN's true freshman All-America team today:
LB: Ja'Whaun Bentley, Purdue
He was the Boilermakers' second-leading tackler on the season with 76 stops, adding an interception and three fumble recoveries.
Not many freshmen get to start at linebacker in the Big Ten. Bentley was successful from the beginning and mid-season he even had to make a sudden change. He moved from outside linebacker to middle linebacker, basically the quarterback of the defense, once Sean Robinson was injured at Illinois.
The defense still struggled overall, but Bentley is one solid piece to build around over the next few seasons. Redshirt freshman Danny Ezechukwu also played well with Bentley, and Gelen Robinson also showed improvement as a solid building block.
So congrats to Ja'Whaun. He is already making a name for himself and right now he projects as the centerpiece of a rebuilt defense that needs to make some major strides in 2015.