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Counting down Northwestern’s roster: 39-30

More linebackers!

NCAA Football: Iowa at Northwestern Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve gone through a litany of predictions for Northwestern’s upcoming football season as over the course of this summer. Now, we’re counting down the roster from 99 down to 0 (thank you, John Raine). We’ll provide stats, background, and an outlook for each player’s role headed into 2020.

Today we present 39-30. The group includes the rest of the deep linebacking corps, with two running backs and a punter scattered throughout.

39: William Halkyard

LS | 6-foot-2, 185 pounds | First-Year | Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Likely role in 2020: Redshirt

The Illinois native will likely redshirt this year considering senior Tyler Gillikin will start for the fourth straight season with junior Peter Snodgrass backing up.

Career stats: N/A

38: Joe DeHaan

LB | 6-foot-2, 185 pounds | First-Year | Tinley Park, Illinois

Likely role in 2020: Redshirt

Another in-state first-year, DeHaan should also redshirt in 2020. At just 185 lbs, he needs to build his frame before he can infiltrate one of the team’s most crowded position rooms.

Career stats: N/A

37: Cody Gronewold

P | 6-foot-1, 183 pounds | Junior | Lincoln, Nebraska

Likely role in 2020: Backup punter

Graduate transfer Derek Adams will take the starting punting spot, but Gronewold can present himself as the clear number two option and take advantage of any opportunity based on Adams’ performance. He has not yet seen any playing time in his NU career.

Career stats: N/A

36: Jesse Brown

RB | 5-foot-11, 210 pounds | Senior | Lilburn, Georgia

Likely role in 2020: Reserve running back

Brown’s career has been marked by promise and marred by injuries. He saw a lot of playing time as a redshirt-freshman, appearing in all 13 games as part of special teams, but didn’t see any time in his sophomore year and only played in four games as a junior. His experience is limited compared to the likes of Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson, but he should still be a good option for Fitz and co. on the offensive side of things if he can stay healthy.

Career stats: 17 games, 191 yards, 2 touchdowns

35: Erik Mueller

LB | 6-foot-2, 230 pounds | Senior | Wheaton, Illinois

Likely role in 2020: Second-string MIKE linebacker

With a decent amount of playing time under his belt, Mueller will be a solid backup for starting middle linebacker Paddy Fisher. Although he first saw playing time on special teams, the veteran has also played as a backup linebacker and has improved over the years.

Career stats: 30 games, 13 total tackles (8 solo, 5 assisted)

34: Xander Mueller

LB | 6-foot-3, 210 pounds | First-Year | Wheaton, Illinois

Likely role in 2020: Redshirt

Yes, he is Erik’s little brother. And they are right next to each other on the roster.

A three-star prospect, Mueller will likely join his brother at linebacker this season as a redshirt. The unit is already considered one of the strongest for the ‘Cats, and so it is unlikely there will be a first year linebackers who burns a year of eligibility.

Career stats: N/A

33: Michael Jansey, Jr.

LB | 6-foot-2, 215 pounds | Redshirt First-Year | Batavia, Illinois

Likely role in 2020: Reserve linebacker

The Illinois native has not seen any action in his career so far, but he could see limited action when starters need a breather or in garbage time. Originally an early enrollee, Jansey was ranked the No. 40 linebacker in the country before coming to Northwestern and chose the Wildcats over offers from Big Ten foes like Purdue and Rutgers. There’s hope he can become a high-performing starter by the time he graduates.

Career stats: N/A

32: Bryce Gallagher

LB | 6-foot-2, 220 pounds | Redshirt First-Year | Raynham, MA

Likely role in 2020: Reserve linebacker

Much like the Mueller brothers, Bryce Gallagher will be playing alongside his older brother Blake once again this season. In his first year on campus, Gallagher played in three games, making as many total tackles, while also earning time on special teams. It’s likely he’ll mirror that experience this year and see playing time in a few games as a backup.

Career stats: 5 games, 3 total tackles (1 solo, 2 assisted)

31: Jaylen Rivers

LB | 6-foot-2, 225 pounds | Sophomore | Decatur, Georgia

Likely role in 2020: Reserve linebacker

Rivers has played in a number of games for the ‘Cats but hasn’t made a huge impact, recording only one tackle through his true and redshirt freshman seasons. If he does see significant playing time, it’ll most likely be behind Chris Bergin on the right side of the defense.

Career stats: 9 games, 1 tackle (assisted)

31: Jake Arthurs

RB | 5-foot-10, 187 pounds | First-Year | Wheaton, Illinois

Likely role in 2020: Redshirt

The freshman running back from Illinois will likely redshirt. Compared to Isaiah Bowser, Arthurs doesn’t have the same physically imposing build at just 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds, according to his Rivals page. Nonetheless, it’s possible that Arthurs will be rotated into the lineup for a few games à la Evan Hull before redshirting.

Career stats: N/A