When you look at a linebacker room that has K.J. Britt, Zakoby McClain, Chandler Wooten, Owen Pappoe and four incoming freshmen, all of whom are highly-ranked recruits, it’s hard to pick an X-Factor.
Rising sophomore Pappoe is someone who, if he continues to improve upon his freshman campaign, could become a star linebacker in the SEC, making him the linebacker X-Factor.
Pappoe first arrived as a 5-star out of Loganville, Georgia, and instantly saw the field at Auburn.
In the first game of the season against Oregon, Pappoe recorded five tackles. By the end of the season, the freshman finished with 49 total tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
His 49 tackles were good for sixth on the team. Britt was third on the team with 68 tackles, and McClain was fourth with 55 tackles.
All three are going to continue to play a large role in the defense, especially with the leaders on the defensive line and in the secondary in the NFL.
The linebacker X-Factor is a coin toss.
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Do you want to go with Britt, who was recently named to the Bednarik Award watch list? There’s McClain, the Iron Bowl hero. Wooten is going into his senior season and will continue to play a veteran leadership role.
Lastly, you have the four freshmen who are all a 3-star or 4-star on the 247Sports player composite rankings.
Any of these players can break out this year and have a strong season, but the rising sophomore Pappoe is my pick for the 2020 season.
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