Back Loyd’s Leadership at the Second Level

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Loyd’s Leadership at the Second Level

By Emory Hunt
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In only his second season in San Marcos, linebacker Gabe Loyd has definitely made his presence felt and an impact on this Bobcat program.

In only his second season in San Marcos, linebacker Gabe Loyd has definitely made his presence felt and an impact on this Bobcat program. Loyd began his college football career at Fort Scott Community College where he racked up 2-time All-Kansas Jayhawk Conference honors, becoming the school’s all-time leader in tackles with 224, surpassing current Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David in the process. It’s that production that led him to Texas State in 2016. 

There are certain positions in football that are ‘true’ leadership positions: Quarterback, Center, Middle Linebacker and Free Safety. Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘leadership’ as the action of leading a group of people or an organization; the state or position of being a leader; the leaders of an organization, country, etc. All of which aptly describes Gabe Loyd and the linebacker position in which he plays. In the Bobcats 3-4 defense, Loyd has found a home right in the middle at Inside Linebacker, where his job description asks him to set the defense, make sure everyone understands the call, take on blockers, read-and-diagnose the play. That would be considered a large task for anyone, which is why you have to be built for that job, both mentally and physically. And that how Loyd is built.

At 6’2 232 lbs., Loyd has the size, strength, speed and aptitude to do anything he wants on the football field from his position. The old saying goes, ‘game recognizes game,’ which is why he was named team captain his first spring as a Bobcat. It doesn’t take long for the rest of your teammates to recognize someone that’s special. In his first season at Texas State, Loyd finished with 102 tackles on the season, averaging 8.5 tackles per game. Those numbers earned him All-Sun Belt Conference honors and Preseason All-Conference honors this season. So far this year, Loyd has been a bright spot defensively in what has been a slow start to the season for the Bobcats. Right now he’s 2nd on the team in tackles with 21, 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. 

Loyd is also getting it done in the classroom as well. The National Football Foundation recently came out with its finalist for the prestigious Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to college football’s top scholar-athlete, and Loyd is on that list. He was named to the 2016-17 Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll and Texas State Dean’s list twice, earning the Texas State ‘Cream of the Crop’ Award after posting a 4.0 GPA in his first semester (Spring 2016) on campus. Loyd has also received the Oak Farms Dairy Academic Award two years in a row.

The upcoming Wyoming Cowboys game provides a unique challenge for the Bobcats. They’re facing a more ‘pro style’ offensive attack with a quarterback in Josh Allen that’s very athletic, who can extend the play with his legs and make any throw he wants to on the field. This type of matchup requires a defense to remain both assignment-sound and disciplined. It requires a defense to play great from the neck up, to ‘not take the cheese’ so-to-speak. Defensive Coordinator Randall McCray can only do so much from the sidelines or press box.

Well…that’s where on-the-field leadership comes into play. That’s where the Bobcats will look to their defensive Field General Gabe Loyd for direction.

I think it’s safe to say that they’ll be in great hands in that department come Saturday afternoon in Laramie, WY.

Emory Hunt - Emory Hunt, "The Czar of the Playbook", is a former UL Ragin' Cajun running back nw covering the Sun Belt for Southern Pigskin. His other work can be found at Twitter: @FBallGameplan