LINEBACKERS

POSITION COACH: O’Neill Gilbert.

PROJECTED STARTERS: Demetrius Bentley, Corey Ray, Jamie Payton, Corry Roy.

ON THE BENCH: Franchot West, Jared Detrick, Javandon Vallare, Robert Sanchez, Larry Johnson, Christian Allen, Daniel Brown.

SOMETHING TO CHEW ON: Southern was so comfortable with its depth at linebacker that it moved sophomore Anthony Balancier to safety. Balancier, who played weakside linebacker last season, ranked third on the team with 45 tackles.

RISING STAR: Payton. The former Dutchtown High standout had 226 tackles, 12 sacks and four interceptions from 2008-10 at Lambuth University, an NAIA school. Payton “has had a really good camp,” Gilbert said.

LETTERMEN LOST: Gary Chatman, André Coleman, Sir Edward Staten, John White, Detrane Lindsey.

NUMBER OF NOTE: 2. Two of Southern’s key contributors, Payton and Detrick, are senior transfers. Payton played three seasons at Lambuth; Detrick played three seasons at Virginia.

QUOTABLE: “I like our depth. ... Last year, we barely could get through. We had young players last year, and I think those guys had a good offseason. That’ll be our strength, I think - our linebackers.” - Gilbert

Perryn Keys