A Bright Present & Future For Virginia Football At Linebacker

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The Virginia defense caused headaches for offenses last season, particularly behind the line of scrimmage. The Hoos racked up 99 tackles for loss (tied for no. 14 among all FBS programs) and 46 sacks (tied for No. 6 among FBS schools) while helping the program capture an ACC Coastal Division title, beat Virginia Tech, and play in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

Outside linebacker Noah Taylor emerged in a major way for Virginia football in 2019. ~ Photo courtesy of Matt Riley

Cavalier linebackers were a major part of last year’s success. The unit should be strong once again in 2020, and the future looks bright thanks to the work head coach Bronco Mendenhall and his staff have done on the recruiting trail. We begin at outside linebacker, a position with dynamic talent in place now and more dynamic talent on the way.

The impactful trio of Charles Snowden, Noah Taylor and Matt Gahm played in all 14 games last season, totaling 30 of UVA’s 99 tackles for loss as well as 13.5 of UVA’s 46 sacks. All three return in 2020 – Snowden and Gahm will be seniors, while Taylor will be a junior.

According to Pro Football Focus, six Cavalier linebackers played 200 or more snaps last season. Snowden had second-most (779) behind inside linebacker Zane Zandier, while Taylor (673) and Gahm (430) were 3rd and 5th in the category. The 6’7”, 235-pound Snowden turned in a solid performance in his second season as a starter, racking up 72 tackles with 11 tackles for loss (3rd on the team) and