Linebackers are notoriously some of the toughest and most physically gifted specimens on the football field. The linebacker position has taken a new form in recent years with the addition of the 'Devilbacker' position under Todd Graham.
The decision on who to include on our all-Sun Devils team at the linebacker position was extremely tough. Arizona State has had a plethora of men who could both blitz and stuff the holes to stop the run game or drop back in pass coverage over the years. We should qualify these "second team" players that these players were just one small step below our first team group which will be unveiled in the following weeks.
Maxwell was recorded an incredible 348 tackles during his Arizona State career and was an All-American three times. He had 127 tackles and seven sacks in 1980, good enough for first team All-Pac-10 honors. Maxwell led the team with 12 sacks in 1982 and was part of a team that went 10-2 on its way to a 32-21 Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma.
Maxwell was named NFL rookie of the year in 1983 after being selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts. He played in 77 career games in the NFL recording 21.5 sacks.
Gordon is most remembered for his performance in the 1975 Fiesta Bowl where he was named defensive player of the game despite being ejected. He had a combined 281 tackles during the 1974 and 1975 seasons when he was named an honorable mention All-American and first team All-Western Athletic conference.
Gordon was drafted No. 17 in the first round by the Miami Dolphins in 1976 and played his entire NFL career with them. He helped lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl appearance in 1982 but tragically died of heart disease of 1983. A more detailed history of Gordon's NFL playing career can be found here.
The linebacker position for the Sun Devils in the early 1990s was defined by Wallerstedt. Besides having a mouthful of a last name, Wallerstedt was all over the field making tackles. The 1990 season saw him make 109 tackles, 122 in 1991 and 119 in his senior year of 1992 when he was named first team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention All-American. Wallerstedt jumped around the NFL for four seasons after being taken in the sixth round by the Phoenix Cardinals.
Current Arizona State baseball freshman infielder Joey Bielek is Wallerstedt's nephew.
Vontaze Burfict: He was one of the most hyped recruits and had already built himself a legacy at Arizona State before even stepping onto the football field thanks to the high marks he received while he was being recruited. Burfict's time at Arizona State can best be defined as a roller coaster. He recorded 228 tackles in his three years as a Sun Devil. He was known for his passion on the football field which also cost him at times with personal fouls. His NFL draft stock dropped significantly and he ended up undrafted but has found success with the Cincinnati Bengals recording 188 tackles in his two years in the NFL so far.
Mark Tingstad: He had 172 tackles during the 1988 season and a two-year team captain. He was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team all four years as a Sun Devil
Derrick Rodgers: He was named first team All-Pac-10 in his only season as a Sun Devil which happened to be the 1996 Rose Bowl season when he recorded 12 sacks.
Brandon Magee: In 44 games as a Sun Devil, Magee recorded 231 tackles. He also played on the Arizona State baseball team and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox after his Sun Devil career ended but he opted for football when he was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. He was then let go by the Cowboys and picked up by the Browns playing in eight games and recording five tackles last season.