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November 18, 2009

Category rankings: Linebackers

VOTE: Best athlete | Best closing speed | Best instincts | Best run stopper


The Rivals.com recruiting experts have broken down countless hours of film and racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles to see the top prospects compete at events across the country. In the process of evaluating overall talent, several prospects gained notice for their mastery of specific skills.

We've selected the best of the best in each category for every position and ranked them. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every breaks down the linebackers.

LB RANKINGS: Best athlete | Closing speed | Best instincts | Run stopper | AMP: Best athlete

5. Nick Forbes, Frederick (Md.) Thomas Johnson
Forbes Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Cal
PARTICULARS: 6-0/223
BUZZ: The two-way starter rushed for more than 1,000 yards and had 96 tackles last year.

4. Khairi Fortt, Stamford (Conn.)
Fortt Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Penn State
PARTICULARS: 6-2/220
BUZZ: Fortt did an excellent job running with some of the best backs in the country while at Top Gun.

3. Christian Jones, Winter Park (Fla.) Lake Howell
Jones Highlights
CONSIDERING: Jones is still considering Florida State, Tennessee, Oklahoma, USC among others.
PARTICULARS: 6-4/220
BUZZ: Jones does a little of everything for his high school team, playing linebacker, defensive end, running back, tight end and punter.
2. Jordan Hicks, West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West
Hicks Highlights
CONSIDERING: Top five consists of Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Texas and USC.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/220
BUZZ: This Cal commit is the No. 2 inside linebacker in the class. Watching him on film is like watching a skilled track athlete chase down ordinary runners.
1. Cecil Whiteside, Newport Beach (Calif.) Newport Harbor
Whiteside Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Cal
PARTICULARS: 6-3/220
BUZZ: One of the top discus throwers in California, Whiteside also proved to be an excellent receiver while at the Gridiron Kings in Orlando, Fla.
BEST CLOSING SPEED
5. Khairi Fortt, Stamford (Conn.)
Fortt Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Penn State
PARTICULARS: 6-2/220
BUZZ: The very gifted athlete held his own covering the likes of Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd at Top Gun.
4. Josh Shirley, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser
Shirley Highlights
CONSIDERING: List includes Arizona, Cal, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee, UCLA, USC and Washington.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/225
BUZZ: He proved to be a terror off the edge and showed an insatiable motor at the Los Angeles Nike Camp and the NUC West Ultimate100.
3. C.J. Mosley, Theodore (Ala.)
Mosley Highlights
CONSIDERING: Will choose between Alabama and Auburn.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/212
BUZZ: He was able to hold his own while covering speedy Solomon Patton man-to-man this season.

2. Tevin Jackson, Garland (Texas)
Jackson Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Texas
PARTICULARS: 6-3/230
BUZZ: He showed off incredible overall athleticism at the Gridiron Kings, and he has the skills to become a phenomenal WDE at the next level.
1. Jordan Hicks, West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West
Hicks Highlights
CONSIDERING: Top five consists of Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Texas and USC.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/220
BUZZ: Hicks may be the fastest LB in the country. He closes the gap between himself and the ball carrier in the blink of an eye.
BEST INSTINCTS
5. Shaun Lewis Missouri City (Texas) Hightower
Lewis Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Oklahoma State
PARTICULARS: 6-1/205
BUZZ: This slightly undersized headhunter has recorded 235 tackles during the past two seasons.

4. C.J. Mosley, Theodore (Ala.)
Mosley Highlights
CONSIDERING: Will choose between Alabama and Auburn.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/212
BUZZ: He can catch backs from behind and cover receivers. He recorded an amazing 176 tackles last season.
3. Cecil Whiteside, Newport Beach (Calif.) Newport Harbor
Whiteside Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Cal
PARTICULARS: 6-3/220
BUZZ: His ability to read run or pass and cover some of the best backs in the state of California earned him Linebacker MVP honors at the Los Angeles Nike Camp.
2. Mike Hull, Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon McMillan
Hull Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Penn State
PARTICULARS: 6-1/215
BUZZ: His ability to read run or pass quickly allowed him to record 117 tackles last season.

1. Max Bullough, Traverse City (Mich.) St. Francis
Bullough Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Michigan State
PARTICULARS: 6-3/225
BUZZ: The tremendous all-around athlete recorded 249 tackles during the past two seasons.

BEST RUN STOPPER
5. Jake Holland, Pelham (Ala.)
Holland Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Auburn
PARTICULARS: 6-1/228
BUZZ: He recorded 129 tackles in just 11 games last season.

4. Nick Forbes, Fredrick (Md.) Thomas Johnson
Forbes Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Cal
PARTICULARS: 6-0/223
BUZZ: The thick, muscled-up 'backer uses his running back skills to fill holes.

3. Khairi Fortt, Stamford (Conn.)
Fortt Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Penn State
PARTICULARS: 6-2/220
BUZZ: He has the size and speed to play all three linebacker positions.

2. David Wilkerson, Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista
Wilkerson Highlights
COMMITTED TO: Cal
PARTICULARS: 6-3/235
BUZZ: Many coaches say Wilkerson may be the best middle linebacker in the country.

1. Jeff Luc, Port Saint Lucie (Fla.) Treasure Coast
Luc Highlights
CONSIDERING: List includes Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and USC.
PARTICULARS: 6-1/230
BUZZ: This human highlight reel has shown what he can do to unsuspecting ball carriers.



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