Yesterday we received the inevitable news that Luke Kuechly is entering the NFL draft. Kuechly had a stellar BC career, and his leadership in the MLB position will be sorely missed, perhaps more so than his insane level of play. Kuechly's departure from the heights likely won't hurt the defense quite as much as most people would expect. Losing a sure-fire first rounder always hurts, but an improved defensive line will hopefully mean less tackle opportunities for the MLB next year. The defense will also be a year older almost across the board by next fall, meaning that it should be playing better ball as a team. Additionally, incoming recruit Stephen Daniels seems like a logical choice to step in for Wonderboy, possibly starting from day one. Daniels was a four star recruit last year who ended up spending some time off shoring up his academics in preparation for BC. The possibility of coming in and playing right away might even strengthen Daniels' commitment to BC.
Super Fans will rightly wonder whether or not LK is the best BC LB of all time. There's no question that he's the best BC MLB of all time. Despite his tackle record, however, I think there is some question as to whether or not LK is the best LB BC has ever seen. In particular, I think of Mark Herzlich's 2008 campaign, which was just dirty. Herzlich is obviously good enough to play in the NFL, even post-cancer. People forget that Herzlich pre-cancer may have had a higher draft rating than LK. While Herzlich may not have had the speed of LK, some of the sacks, interceptions, and tackles he had at the outside LB position were athletically freakish. Jumping over FBs coming out to block him, intercepting passes headed down-field before they even crossed the line of scrimmage, and putting RBs on their backs are just some of my favorite Herzlich memories.
Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to say that LK had the best career of any BC LB, but I still think that Herzlich's 2008 campaign may have been better than any single season LK put together.