This week's edition of Milestone Monday features Sun Devil linebacker Chris Young. After a breakout season playing the SPUR position last year, there's talk of Young making the transition to WILL. Why mess with success? Because the Sun Devils need a replacement for team captain Brandon Magee. Last season, Magee became the first Sun Devil since 2007 to eclipse the 100-tackle mark and Arizona State is hoping that Young can pick up where the new Dallas Cowboy left off. Can Young maintain the productivity? Here's what our writers had to say.
Cody Ulm: On the collegiate level, a 100-tackle season isn't as easy it might sound to those NFL nuts who see at least 50 players surpass the century mark each season. Only one Sun Devil topped 100 last season (Brandon Magee with 113). The next closest was Keelan Johnon who came 12 tackles short of triple digits. But I do believe that Young is poised to pick up Magee's lost production and make the jump over the milestone.
In Young's first season at Arizona State, he played the SPUR position, a hybrid of both a linebacker and safety. For that reason, he wasn't around the line of scrimmage as often as he could have been even though he showed some really impressive playmaking instincts. This offseason, he's been getting first team reps at the WILL linebacker position (Magee's old position). It remains unclear if he'll start at WILL or SPUR but both positions still drop back into coverage quite frequently which could make it difficult to rack up those easy tackles. In the end though, I do believe Todd Graham will have Young around the line of scrimmage more often. Even at weakside linebacker, he still has the speed to make up some ground and steal a few tackles that might not be his. All things considered, I expect Young to be the team's leading tackler even if they tinker with his position all season long.
Kerry Crowley: Prior to Brandon Magee's 100-tackle season last year, no Sun Devil had accomplished the feat since Robert James did it in 2007. Asking for 100 tackles out of any defensive player is a lot, but it's especially difficult considering that the Arizona State defense is so well-rounded this season. Regardless of what position Young plays, I do believe he will ultimately lead the team in tackles, but in no way do I think he'll run away with things like Magee did last year.
Though he should rack up tackles in droves, Young's forte is tackles for loss. As a dynamic play-maker, Young has the ability to read offensive schemes and fight through the line of scrimmage at will. What that says to me is that Young plays downhill and puts himself in position to make a play on the football on almost every play. If Young ends up taking the majority of his reps at the WILL position, I think 100 tackles is definitely attainable. If he's playing SPUR, expect increased productivity, an even better knack for making plays than he showed last season, and somewhere between 75-90 tackles.
Ben Haber: Despite Chris Young being a gifted player, he won't accumulate 100 plus tackles in the 2013 season. As Kerry and Cody eluded to, the well-rounded team effort could make the feat nearly impossible. However, Young does posses the tools to overcome the long shot odds. Within the intricate X's and O's of football are intangibles, and Young demonstrates some traits others can only dream about. The main one being: an uncanny nose for the football.