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Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023 Rankings

Ranking the best Inside Linebackers in College Football for the 2023 NCAA season as Barrett Carter of the Clemson Tigers leads the way

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By admin | November 7, 2023

The defensive element of the game of football continues to transcend from year to year as players continue to build new physical attributes and abilities. As opposing offenses get more creative and the football players within those systems get stronger and faster including at the quarterback position, defenses look to change from a wide range of different formations including both 4-3 defensive formations and 3-4 formations. Depending on the defensive alignment some defenses may have just one inside linebacker while others may have multiple. As you start to look around at the best inside linebackers in college football each are well worth mentioning on the Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023-2024 Rankings list.

One of those top inside linebackers is the Clemson Tigers junior Barrett Carter who continues to play at a prominent level while increasing his draft stock this season. While the physical numbers may not be there within the stat sheet, the overall performance has been strong all season for Carter who has posted 43 tackles and two sacks on the season while anchoring down the Tigers defense. 

Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023-2024 Rankings:

Honorable Mention

Chase Wilson

School: Colorado State Rams

Just missing the Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023-2024 Rankings list is the Colorado State Rams linebacker Chase Wilson. Wilson has consistently improved over the course of the 2023-2024 NCAA Football season while emerging as one of the top linebackers in the country. 

Despite lacking the deep statistics, most of Wilson’s highlights come in shutting down opposing runners and receivers in the middle of the field. Nonetheless Wilson has been all over the field for the Rams this season while racking up 77 tackles to go alongside two passes defensed and one sack.

Trezmen Marshall

School: Alabama Crimson Tide

All the SEC does is produce high quality football players and even better players at the NFL level. One of those players emerging as the best at the inside linebacker position is the Alabama Crimson Tide junior linebacker Tremen Marshall.

Over the years the Crimson Tide have had a long history of developing stars on both sides of the football including at the linebacker position. One of those linebackers is Marshall who transferred into the Crimson Tide after spending three straight seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Finally landing some extended minutes, Marshall has shined posting a career high 40 tackles to go alongside 2.5 sacks while helping the Crimson Tide to a 7-1 start to the season. 

Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023 Rankings

10. Jackson Mitchell

School: UConn Huskies

Coming in at number 10 on the Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023-2024 Rankings list is the UConn Huskies Jackson Mitchell. Mitchell is another well rounded linebacker for the Huskies who can do anything asked while being strong against both the run as well as against the pass.

On the season Mitchell has showcased his athleticism to cover both tight ends and running backs in the passing game while also having the speed and burst off the line to be a solid pass rush specialist despite picking up just one total sack on the season.

In addition, Mitchell has posted 81 tackles to start the season following up back to back seasons of at least 113 tackles. Mitchell’s production over the past few seasons including this season has helped emerged him as one of top inside linebackers in college football.

9. Tommy Eichenberg

School: Ohio State Buckeyes

Another big time football school that continues to turn out talented football players is the Ohio State Buckeyes. One of those players is Tommy Eichenberg who entered the 2023-2024 NCAA Football season as a reigning First-Team All-Big Ten selection while ranking among the best linebackers in the country.

After posting 120 tackles last season, Eichenberg has played well for the undefeated Buckeyes this season while helping to solidify the entire defense. Overall Eichenberg has posted 61 tackles this season to go along with one sack, and one forced fumble over the team’s first eight games of the season.

8. Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

School: Clemson Tigers

On paper the stats might not show up for the Clemson Tigers star and former App Second-Team All-American from last season. Nonetheless it is hard to look past the production Jeremiah Trotter Jr brings to the football field each week while also bringing a proven leader to the field to help mentor and lead the entire Tigers defense.

Following in his fathers footsteps, Trotter Jr continues to shine for the Tigers while clearing his path to the next level possible during the 2024 NFL Draft. The Tigers linebacker has racked up 54 tackles this season to go along with 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four passes defended and one interception.

7. Kendre’ Gant

School: Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

One linebacker who may often get overlooked among the best inside linebackers in college football is the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns junior Kendre’ Gant. Despite playing for a smaller school the 6 foot 4 inch linebacker is a physical monster on the defensive side of the ball while possessing size, speed, and strength to make him a dangerous playmaker on any play.

Gant has slowly developed into a game changer this season after posting just 15 tackles last season and one sack. Through the team’s first eight games this season, Gant has posted 48 total tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

6. Jett Johnson

School: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Joining his teammate Nathaniel Watson among the best inside linebackers in the country is the Mississippi State Bulldogs Jett Johnson. Johnson is as solid as any linebacker in the country while being able to do a little bit of everything.

Through the Bulldogs first eight games of the season, Johnson has racked up 84 tackles while also posting four sacks, forcing two fumbles, and recording two interceptions.

Johnson is a strong versatile inside linebacker who has the physical tangibles to stop both the run and pass on nearly any play for the Bulldogs. 

5. Trey Moore

School: UTSA Roadrunners

Rounding out the Top 5 on the Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023-2024 Rankings list is the UTSA Roadrunners linebacker Trey Moore. Moore is as versatile as any linebacker in the country while being lined up both inside and outside while playing the edge position to get to the quarterback.

The sophomore linebacker has been brilliant all season for the Roadrunners while posting 12 sacks over the team’s first eight games including racking up eight sacks over the past three games while helping the Roadrunners go 3-0 over that stretch. In addition, the career high 12 sacks, Moore has racked up 36 tackles and one forced fumble over the first eight games of the season.

4. Jay Higgins

School: Iowa Hawkeyes

It is hard to look past Jay Higgins as one of the top inside linebackers in the country while posting a strong start to the 2023-2024 NCAA Football season.

Higgins, who put together a strong start to the season, landed on multiple mid-season awards lists including the Rotary Lombardi Award as well as potential All-American at the position.

Overall Higgins continues to put up big numbers each game while racking up 101 tackles to go along with two passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble while posting six different games with at least 10 tackles recorded. Higgins has been all over the field for the Hawkeyes this season including at the line scrimmage on run plays.

3. Nathaniel Watson

School: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Now in the Top 3 of the best Inside Linebackers in College Football list is Nathaniel Watson. This senior linebacker of the Mississippi State Bulldogs can do it all and has showcased his talents across the entire college football season.

After posting 113 tackles last season with six sacks, Watson has continued that success this season while racking up a career high 7.5 sacks while emerging as one of the top pass rushing specialists at the inside linebacker position. 

Watson, who has recorded 18.5 sacks over the past three college football seasons has been a menace in the backfield for both opposing quarterbacks as well as running backs.

In addition to the 7.5 sacks this season the Bulldogs linebacker has racked up 80 tackles in eight games played while posting double figure totals in four of those contests.

2. Edgerrin Cooper

School: Texas A&M Aggies

As you start to look around at game changers at the inside linebacker or outside linebacker position it is hard to look past the Texas A&M Aggies Edgerrin Cooper.

Cooper, who has solid size at 6 foot 3 inches has raw instincts and speed to help him play both against the pass and run while also making him a threat to rush the quarterback on any pass attempt.

The Aggies junior linebacker is putting together a strong season while racking up 52 total tackles across the start of the 2023-2024 NCAA Football season.

In addition to the tackles, Cooper has picked up one pass defense, two forced fumbles and a career high seven sacks while ranking among the league leaders in college football.

1. Barrett Carter

School: Clemson Tigers

In at number one on the Top 10 Best Inside Linebackers in College Football 2023-2024 Rankings is the Clemson Tigers inside linebacker Barrett Carter.

Since arriving with the Tigers, it is hard not to notice Carter among multiple other Tigers on the defensive side of the ball including Jeremiah Trotter Jr who also lands among the best in the game.

Carter is a physical defender who finds himself in the back field on running plays while also being solid against the pass and run. On the season, the Tigers inside linebacker has racked up 43 tackles to go along with two sacks while continuing to build a strong draft resume.

How would you rank the Best Inside Linebackers in College Football for the 2023-2024 BCS season? Rank below to be added in the NCAA Power Rankings.

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Players Count 10
  1. Darius Muasau

    Middle LB
  2. Micah Baskerville

    Middle LB
  3. Jack Kiser

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  4. Drake Thomas

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  5. Trenton Simpson

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  6. Henry To’oTo’o

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  7. Jack Campbell

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  8. Noah Sewell

    Middle LB
  9. Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

    Middle LB
  10. Owen Pappoe

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