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Top 5 LBs in the Big Ten for 2023 season

Which linebackers in the Big Ten will make a name for themselves this fall?

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We are continuing our series of the top players at every position in the Big Ten with the guys in the middle of the defense — the linebackers. The Big Ten has always been known for quick and tough-as-nails linebackers that always seem to find their way around the ball.

The 2023 season has great linebackers returning across the conference. Here are the top five linebackers in the Big Ten.

5. Aaron Casey - Indiana

Casey makes the cut at No. 5 because of his experience. In 2022, he made a huge jump in production and became one of the bright spots for the Indiana defense late in the season. He led the team in tackles and was sixth in the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 10. Returning for his sixth season, Casey is going to be the heart and soul of the Hoosiers in 2023.

4. Junior Colson - Michigan

Colson increased his production from his true freshman season and made a huge impact for the Wolverines. He led the team in tackles and also had two sacks. His speed and quickness give him the ability to be a consistent playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. As possible prospect for the 2024 NFL draft, Colson is going to be wreaking havoc in the Big Ten once again.

3. Maema Njongmeta - Wisconsin

His name may not be the easiest to say, but in 2023, you will be hearing a lot about Maema Njongmeta. In 2022, he quickly became a leader for the Wisconsin defense, recording 95 total tackles and three sacks.

What makes Njongmeta such a great linebacker is his versatility. He’s not only a great pass rusher but he fares well in coverage, too. He will be a key piece for the Badgers to have a dominant defense.

2. Abdul Carter - Penn State

Micah Parsons, LaVar Arrington, Navorro Bowman and Brandon Bell all had something in common — they all wore No. 11 for the Nittany Lions. Last season when Carter was awarded No. 11 as a freshman, Carter recorded 56 total tackles, six sacks and three forced fumbles. This season, he will be looking to continue his success and be one of the top linebackers not only in the Big Ten but in the entire country.

1. Tommy Eichenberg - Ohio State

It was definitely a surprise Tommy Eichenberg decided to come back for another year, but the Buckeyes are surely happy with his decision. Eichenberg was one of the best linebackers in the country last season and will be in the running for the Butkus Award once again. Last season, he had 120 total tackles and 20 tackles for loss to help him achieve All-American Honors.