Who are the leading tackle machines in the early part of the 2020 college football season? Let’s see who’s off to a hot start making tackles.
In this article, I am going to look at some of the nation’s leading Tackle machines and how they have performed this season. Some are well-known names and some may be breaking out for the first time. Either way, they all have been making plays all over the field and making it hard for opposing offenses to get anything going. Tackle numbers can be tricky depending on how the stat crew sees it, but for now, I will look at total tackles. Let’s take a look at who these tackling machines are.
LB, Tyler Grubbs, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Up first on the tackle machines list – Tyler Grubbs. Grubbs comes from little ole Louisiana Tech out of CUSA. He may play for a small school but his game is big time. He currently leads the nation in both total tackles (42) and assisted tackles (28). Grubbs is averaging 10.5 tackles per game on the young season. But here’s the kicker, he’s doing this as a true freshman, for the Bulldogs. That’s impressive in itself considering what a huge life change is going from living at home to now doing everything on your own. A local prospect, Grubbs was a three-star prospect from Holy Cross High School in Louisiana. I will definitely be putting on the tape and breaking his game down. I can’t wait for what he does going forward.
LB, Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College Eagles
Next on the tackle machines list is junior linebacker, Isaiah McDuffie, of Boston College. He had a great sophomore season and big things were expected from him last year. However, his season was halted before it even began. He suffered a lower-body injury that cost him the first eight games. Now here he is a year later and he’s back better than ever. McDuffie is 2nd in the NCAA in total tackles (41) but leads in solos tackles (28). Not only that, but he also ranks 6th in the ACC with three sacks, one interception, and leads the team in tackles for a loss with 4.5. As you can see he’s a complete linebacker. If he continues playing this way, he’ll have a decision to make next spring whether to enter the NFL Draft.
LB, Hayes Maples, Southern Miss Golden Eagles
We continue the tackle machines list with sophomore, Hayes Maples, of Southern Miss. After playing sparingly last season as a backup, he’s finally getting his shot as a starter. Through just four games this year (38 total tackles), he has already surpassed last season tackle total of 31. Maples currently ranks 2nd in CUSA and 3rd in the country in both total tackles (38) and assisted tackles (24). Southern Miss is known for routinely having good defenses year in and year out, so it’s important to have that stud you can rely on at inside linebacker. They seem to have that in Maples, who is averaging just over nine tackles per game this season.
LB, Max Richardson, Boston College Eagles
Up next on the list is another tackling machine from Boston College, Max Richardson. Richardson is a 5th year senior who really came into his own last season when McDuffie was forced to miss some time. Richardson led the team in nearly every statistical category. Not only was he their leading tackler, but he was also their leading pass rusher. With McDuffie back healthy, Richardson will revert back to their 2nd best player, but he will still make a huge impact for the Eagles. He currently ranks 3rd in the nation in total tackles (38), 8th in solo tackles (21), and 4th in the ACC with 17 assisted tackles. Can’t ask for your #2 linebacker to perform much better than that.
LB, Shaka Heyward, Duke Blue Devils
The last on the tackle machines list is another youngster – Shaka Heyward of the Duke Blue Devils. The sophomore ranks 5th in the NCAA in total tackles with 37 and ranks 2nd in the ACC with 19 assisted tackles. Heyward had an outstanding freshman campaign, where he finished 4th on the team in both tackles (68) and tackles for a loss (6.5). Now in his 2nd year, it looks likes he’s upped his game. He does have the benefit of playing behind two extraordinary defensive ends (Chris Rumph & Victor Dimukeje), who funnel all the run plays his way for him to clean up. Don’t be mistaken, Heyward is a legit playmaker and the leader that this Blue Devil team needs.