This is part of The Sun’s position-by-position preview of the 2017 Cornell football team. For a preview of each position, click here.
It is an unfortunate flashback for Cornell football’s depth at linebacker For the second straight season, the team has to deal with the loss of three-time captain Miles Norris to an Achilles injury in preseason training.
A player who did not miss a single game in his three years before the injury, Norris was hoping to make a comeback this season, returning as a fifth-year senior and a three-time captain. But an injury to the opposite foot brings a crushing blow to the team.
“It was so gut-wrenching to see that,” said head coach David Archer ’05. “A guy like Miles Norris doesn’t come around every day, very few and far between with what he does on the field, off the field, and his influence. He’s still the captain, he’s part of this program forever, but just heartbreaking.”
But this year’s linebacking corps has one thing that last year’s did not: experience. This team has already dealt with a year without its leader, an intangible asset that the team will undoubtedly be falling back on.
The most seasoned player is senior and captain Kurt Frimel, who appeared in every game the past two seasons in addition to four his freshman year. Frimel tallied 59 total tackles, six for a loss and 1.5 sacks last year. He ranked second in the League and 24th nationally with three forced fumbles, and ranked first in the league and 20th nationally in fumbles recovered with two.
Junior Reis Seggebruch, who Archer said is “like a little clone of Frimel,” had a stand-out inaugural varsity season when he accounted for 74 total tackles, good for 10th in the league. 52 of those tackles were were unassisted, good for sixth in the league and 24th nationally, to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Adding to the mix is senior Daniel Crochet, who had a stellar sophomore season with 38 total tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss in 10 games. Last season, Crochet missed three games due to injury but still accounted for 23 tackles and 1.5 for loss.
Archer admitted that Crochet may have began his playing career prematurely, but gave props to him for his growth as a player.
“Dan was a kid who comes from a great football family but had to play early when he probably shouldn’t have,” Archer said. “[He] didn’t understand everything about college football, but well, he is there now.”
Rounding out the group is junior Malcolm Chaka and sophomores Ijhad Bonner and Dylan Otolski, players who all got tastes of action last year.
“Either the personnel has gotten better, or we’ve inserted better personnel on defense, so I’m really excited,” Archer said.
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