No. 61 Fred Warner – Linebacker – 2014-2017
Fred Warner was a silent killer who was never really the flashy or sexy defender on the team outside of his senior season, but even then it wasn’t like he was “the guy”. Instead he was in the shadow of Kai Nacua, Bronson Kaufusi, Harvey Langi and Corbin Kaufusi. Yet, as far as consistency goes, Warner was the guy leading the team consistently.
When watching replays and focusing only on Warner, it is clear to see that he was perhaps the best overall player on the team from 2015-2017 as far as all around talent. He wasn’t the fastest (Nacua), the best pass rusher (Kaufusi) or even best tackler (Langi), but he was a combination of all three that made him appear inferior but actually superior in many ways to everyone else.
Linebackers have the job of helping everyone else out on the field. A good linebacker will know when to rush the quarterback and get into the backfield. They also know when to drop back into contain or when to defend a receiver’s route. Without good linebackers defenses can be exposed and attacked, but Warner was a really good linebacker. Between the years 2015-2017 when Warner was a starter, the team gave up less than ten points ten times and much of that credit can be given to Warner.
Warner was the best overall consistent player on the team from 2015 to 2017 being the second leading tackler in 2015 and the leader in 2016 and 2017. Although it was dominating (100 or more tackles) it was consistent with seven to nine tackles in just about every game. He also had seven interceptions, two pick sixes, five fumble recoveries and 32 tackles for loss with 6.5 of those being sacks. The most impressive stat is the 13 pass breakups, an extremely high number for a linebacker who is also getting into the backfield multiple times during a game.
Memorable Moments B-
As brought up before, Warner was never the flashy player on the team getting the three interceptions against Boise State or destroying players like Kaufusi but Warner was a memorable player overall. His most memorable moments came in the big games. Against Utah his senior season, Warner came up with a crucial fumble recovery and was constantly getting into the backfield. The pick six against Boise State in 2017 was almost enough to win the game but also came up short. Overall, Warners biggest moments happened in big games that Cougars still went on to lose which makes the moments a bit less memorable.