Courtesy Georgetown Sports Information
Courtesy Georgetown Sports Information

It’s usually bad news when a school graduates its conference’s best defensive player. But this season, Georgetown simply reloads.
Last year’s Patriot League defensive player of the year and All-American defensive end Andrew Schaetzke (MSB ’12) graduated in May, but in July, senior linebacker Robert McCabe took Schaetzke’s mantle when he was named conference preseason defensive player of the year.

McCabe set Georgetown’s single-season record for tackles last season with 134 takedowns, which was also best in the conference.

Now sitting in fourth place all-time on the Hoyas’ career tackles list, McCabe is on pace to set a career record during the 2012 season. But he downplays those numbers, saying they are more a reflection of his teammates.

“Our defensive line was great last year, obviously, led by Andrew Schaetzke. But we return a lot of great players. [Sophomore defensive lineman] Jordan Richardson was a big part of my season last year and my success last year with everything he did,” McCabe said.

The senior, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 234 pounds, not only is quick on the field but also has a knack for getting into the right places on the gridiron.

“He’s got the physical tools, but he’s [also] a smart football player. He sees things very, very well, and that makes him a good football player,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said.

Those are skills he has been putting to use at Georgetown since his freshman season, during which he featured in every single game.

“He started playing when he was a freshman. I remember [when] he played against Holy Cross up there when he was a true freshman,” Kelly said. “He made some big plays there, so we knew he was going to be a very good player.”

In fact, McCabe has played in every game during his time on the Hilltop, notching 30 tackles as a freshman and 84 as a sophomore.

As much as Kelly values numbers like that, he also appreciates the leadership McCabe has shown, including his being a team captain this season.

“Rob is a quiet guy. He’s never going to be a ‘rah, rah’ guy or talk too much out there,” Kelly said. “But there is a respect factor that he has with other guys, and that’s what he has as far as leadership is concerned.”

In keeping with the reliance on his leadership, whether McCabe sets the career record for tackles this season will likely depend on his teammates’ collective defensive strength. But the captain is excited about what he sees from them so far.

“[This year we have] six or seven defensive linemen that I believe are above-average to very good players who will be able to rotate in and be excited to be in there, running around and making plays,” McCabe said. “[It is] a lot more balanced [on the] defensive line this
year, which will be more interesting.”

And while McCabe has filled Schaetzke’s shoes in many ways, he will have a chance to lead that defensive line to one goal Schaetzke never reached: the Patriot League title.

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