Iowa State football: Final grades for defense and special teams units

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Nov 30, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Jeremiah George (52) and head coach Paul Rhoads embrace after the defense stop West Virginia Mountaineers offense in the third overtime at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Iowa State Cyclones defeated West Virginia Mountaineers 52-44 in the third overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers: B

Yes, this grade is skewed with Jeremiah George, but averaging 11.08 tackles per game will do that. For most of the season, George was the only spotlight in a unit that finished ranked 107th nationally in total defense. Things improved throughout the month of November, but George’s solid tackling form and ability to force turnovers has definitely boosted his potential to be a late-round or free agent pickup in next year’s NFL Draft.

Jevohn Miller, who filled in for Luke Knott at wide linebacker after Knott went down with an injury, was one of the highlight players that improved. He registered five or more total tackles in the final four games (27 of his 44 total tackles on the season).

Linebackers have been a strength under Wally Burnham, and this year remained no different even after both A.J. Klein and Jake Knott moved on.