By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – If you are curious as to just how Solon feels about its group of linebackers this season think about this.
Iowa commit Jacob Coons made the switch from outside linebacker to defensive end for his senior season in part because of what the Spartans return at linebacker.
If that move alone doesn’t speak volumes about what the Spartans bring back at the linebacker position Coons has no problem filling in the blanks.
“They are going to be really, really good,” Coons said of the Solon linebackers. “They have a physical mindset which is good, you always have to be physical as a linebacker. I think we will be really solid at the linebacker position.”
The linebacker unit figures to be the backbone of a Solon defense that plans to improve on the 16.1 points and 248 yards it allowed per game last season.
Seniors Trevor Nelson and Bo Black return after ranking first and third on the team respectively in tackles last season.
The senior duo gives Solon a pair of experienced playmakers in the center of its defense.
“I think that is where we are going to start,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said of the linebackers. “We feel like we have some people on that side and we are excited about what they bring to the table. Certainly they are physical capable of being difference makers inside and we have number of other guys to surround them as well.”
A 6-foot-0, 180-pound ball of muscle, Nelson led Solon with 61.5 tackles a year ago.
A state runner-up wrestler at 160 pounds a year ago, Nelson made a team-high 44 solo stops last season to go with five tackles for loss and four sacks.
“We have a good linebacker corps last year and we have some guys returning and you always feel more confident with a year under your belt,” Nelson said. “We are kind of the thing that runs the defense and we are just trying to be leaders.”
The 6-foot-1, 208-pound Black brings a physical presence to the middle for Solon.
Black ranked third on the team with 42 tackles a year ago.
Nelson and Black will get help from the likes of junior Spencer Wegmann.
“I think we will be just as solid on defense if not better than last year,” Nelson said. “That is what we are putting a lot of our focus on is playing great defense.”