And now here they all are, ready for their NFL close-up, a trio of linebackers from the same school all expected to be first-round draft picks.
Several junior college signees, along with a bevy of linebackers from the 2009 class, will be given a chance to start and won't have much time to learn on the job as Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech return to the Cyclones 'schedule in 2010.
What separates Willis from other hard-hitting middle linebackers is his speed.
When you put a tape in and you watch a linebacker, the biggest problem with linebackers is taking missteps.
"They might not be the fastest or the biggest, but I think almost every one of those Penn State linebackers is on the high end of the athleticism scale," Mayock said.
The biggest problem with linebackers is taking missteps.
"Giving it to the linebackers, is it going to stand up?"
The Eagles also need depth on both lines, but this draft is deep in linebackers, and Ohio State's Bobby Carpenter and Alabama's DeMeco Ryans both should be available.
Linebackers were left licking their wounds with just four healthy players at the end of 2009, but led by Solomon Randle and Adrien Cole in the middle, the linebackers are the strength for the Bulldogs.
His game film has just hit Covington and I will have to admit that I have had him underrated all of this spring and summer, because this kid is the "real deal" in linebackers.