Bobby Lewis, NewsOn6.com
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Linebacker is one of the deepest positions on the Tulsa roster heading into this season. The Golden Hurricane loses energy-guy Tanner Antle to graduation, but welcomes back DeAundre Brown from a leg injury that cost him to miss all of last season.
Brown has 158 tackles in his two-year career with Tulsa. His three career interceptions are second among current linebackers trailing only Curnelius Arnick's four.
Arnick is the undisputed leader of the new look defense. Defensive coordinator Brent Guy has switched things up this season, moving the Golden Hurricane into a 4-3 configuration with the linebackers playing a central role.
"The fact that he returns as a starter really is a rallying point for all of our guys," said new Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship, who was quick to bring up Arnick's blocked punt return for a touchdown against Notre Dame. "I love to see young men that are rewarded for great effort and leadership.
"He's got big play written all over him."
Blankenship also likes the added depth that the team developed this spring with Alan Dock, Cody Wilson and Donnell Hawkins. All of them will see time behind the trio of Arnick, Brown and freshman sensation Shawn Jackson.
Jackson, a standout quarterback at McLain High School, led the team a year ago with 15.5 tackles for loss. He was named a Freshman All-American by a few scouting and reporting sources for making countless big plays in the Golden Hurricane's 10-3 season.
"I think you'll see him be our hybrid linebacker, a guy that you'll see us do a lot of things with," said Blankenship. "He certainly has shown his ability to get after the quarterback."
Tulsa faces the Oklahoma Sooners in the season opener on September 3rd in Norman.