Perhaps an afterthought in recent years when it came to the consideration of the better linebackers in the MAC, I'm here to remind you that senior Ben Ingle brings plenty to the table for the Ball State Cardinals in 2015.
Two years removed from a second team All-MAC selection at inside linebacker, Ben Ingle heads into 2015 presumably healthy. If you'll recall, an injury kept him out of two games last season, and he still totaled 87 tackles. He has come a long way in a short time, heck, look at this video from 2013. We had him even higher in our countdown last season!
As our own Keith Scheessele said then:
It's obvious to most around Muncie that he has become quite the leader in that time. An anchor on the BSU defense, the 6'0" 230 lb. backer is Mike Linebacker embodied at this level. He isn't asked to sack the quarterback, (according to BSU athletics he doesn't have an unassisted QB sack in his career), has one interception and one career forced fumble. He isn't the prototypical "playmaker," as we understand the term in the game right now. He makes plays by putting guys o the ground when they get past the defensive line. He does it often. He does it well. He does it against intense competition. Two of his better games of 2014 were against Western Division foes, where he totaled 14 and 12 tackles against Toledo and Western Michigan respectively.
You have to love guys who can play their gaps like this, flowing to the ball hard and downhill. He plays quick and hard through the ball-carrier. On a linebacking corps with respectable speed, it is guys like Ingle and his fellow LB's who have a crucial role in playing quickly against speedy opposing offenses. And when he does do this, that's just an added bonus to what he provides as a consistent and trustworthy linebacker than can be counted on. Does Ingle have what it takes to be a leader on a defense that looks to be the rock of the team compared to an offense with question marks (though undoubtably talented)? He was voted a team captain in April after all. With Milas settling in in what should be his first full season as the signal-caller and a team looking to fill the void that Jahwan "Quake" Williams left, We'll soon find out.
For added fun, he did score this touchdown: