NAU position preview: Linebackers

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona football returns six out of its eight leading tacklers from a year ago, including a pair of All-Big Sky honorable mention linebackers in Austin Hasquet and Ryan Reardon.

Hasquet, a Peoria native, was the team’s sophomore of the year last season on defense. He started all 11 games and tied for second on the squad last year with 61 tackles and a fumble recovery.

“We definitely have a lot of experience coming back,” said Hasquet. “We have the consistency on defense that we need to perform well. With our passion and love for the game, our job is to get out there and stop our opponents.”

Reardon, a senior, started all 11 games for NAU last season. He also was a 2012 All-Big Sky honorable mention after recording 41 tackles, including two tackles for loss.

“I think that anytime you have multiple players with a substantial amount of playing time under their belts it helps the team as a whole,” said linebackers coach Andy Thompson.

Craig Frum, Anthony Harrington, Harrison Johnson and Tevin Ray also return from last year’s linebacker corps.

“All of our returners are guys that I feel have gotten a lot better since they’ve been in the program,” said Thompson. “We don’t have individuals. We have a unit that cares a lot about each other.”

Others who will add to NAU’s depth include newcomers Derek Craig, Michael DeGroote, Thomas Hopp, Jabari Marshall and Chase Wilsey.