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Jeff Casteel - 2014 Linebackers Coach of the Year


FootballScoop is proud to announce that Jeff Casteel (Arizona) is the 2014 FootballScoop Linebackers of the Year presented by ProGrass.

Before we discuss Jeff Casteel's linebackers, we must first recognize that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o turned 113 tackles, seven interceptions, 5.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, four pass breakups and 1.5 sacks into a runner-up bid for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

Jeff Casteel

With that understood, now consider that Wildcat linebacker Scooby Wright recorded 153 tackles (third nationally), 28 tackles for loss (first), 14 sacks (third), six forced fumbles (first), one fumble recovery and one fumble recovery in 2014. And he's a sophomore.

Wright didn't garner an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, but he did parlay the best season by a linebacker in recent memory into the Nagurski Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award as college football's top defensive player, the Lombardi Award as college football's best lineman or linebacker, the CBS Sports Defensive Player of the Year award, a berth on every All-America team known to man, and became the first sophomore to ever win the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

As a whole, Arizona finished 10-3 this season, won its first Pac-12 South championship and earned a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. The Wildcats turned in one of the best defensive performances of the season, holding Pac-12 champion and College Football Playoff semifinalist Oregon to season lows of 446 total yards, 6.03 yards per play and 24 points in a 31-24 Wildcats win at Autzen Stadium on Oct. 2.

"Coach Casteel is one of the best coordinators and linebackers coaches in the country. He is all about the development and progression of every player on defense." Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez told FootballScoop.

Casteel is in his third season at Arizona and tenth working under Rodriguez. A native of Paden City, W. Va., Casteel played at California (Pa.) and broke into coaching as a graduate assistant at his alma mater from 1984-86. After a year working in the Miami high school ranks, Casteel spent a dozen years at Shepherd (W. Va.) University. After a one-year sojourn coaching defensive ends at UTEP, Casteel was hired to coach defensive ends at West Virginia in 2001. He moved to linebackers and added a co-defensive coordinator title in 2002 and was elevated to the Mountaineers' sole defensive coordinator in 2003, a position he maintained until joining Rodriguez in Tucson in 2012.

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Bob Gregory [Washington], Brent Pry [Penn State] and Casteel) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.

Casteel will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.

Previous winners of the Linebackers Coach of the Year award are Bill McGovern (Boston College, 2008), Bob Fraser (Rutgers, 2009), Luke Fickell (Ohio State, 2010), Dave Huxtable (Wisconsin, 2011), Bob Gregory (Boise State, 2012) and Jim Reid and LeVar Woods (Iowa, 2013).


3rd Nationally - Tackles (Wright)

1st Nationally - Forced Fumbles (Wright) 

1st Nationally - TFL (Wright)

3rd Nationally - Sacks (Wright)

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