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June 23, 2008

Category rankings: Linebackers

Video: Best LBs by category | VOTE: Best instincts | Run stopper | Closing speed | Best athlete


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.

Coming Next: Wide receivers

LB RANKINGS: Best insincts | Best run stopper | Best closing speed | Best athlete

5. TOM WORT, New Braunfels (Texas) High
Wort highlights
COMMITMENT: Oklahoma
PARTICULARS: 6-1/210
THE BUZZ: You can't rack up the number of tackles he has made in the past two seasons without knowing where the ball is at all times.
4. KEVIN MINTER, Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge
Minter highlights
COMMITMENT: LSU
PARTICULARS: 6-0/231
THE BUZZ: His personal trainers work with NFL players, and it shows in Minter's game.
3. NICO JOHNSON, Andalusia (Ala.) High
Johnson highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-3/226
THE BUZZ: Has that knack for knowing which way the ball is going on all running plays.
2. VONTAZE BURFICT, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Burfict highlights
COMMITMENT: USC
PARTICULARS: 6-2/244
THE BUZZ: Looks good against the run and pass. He also pursues all over the field.
1. MANTI TE'O, Honolulu Punahou School
Te'o highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-2/230
THE BUZZ: Has the ability to decipher "run or pass?" in an instant.
OTHERS: Lamin Barrow, Marrero (La.) John Ehret; Larvez Mars, Apopka (Fla.) High; Chris Norman, Detroit Renaissance (Michigan State commitment); Marquis Simmons, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez (USC commitment); Jordan Whiting, Louisville Trinity (Ohio State commitment).
BEST RUN STOPPER
5. GLENN CARSON, Manahawkin (N.J.) Southern Regional
Carson highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-3/220
THE BUZZ: He uses his long arms to shed blockers and make a bunch of tackles near the line of scrimmage.
4. CARLO CALABRESE, Verona (N.J.) High
Calabrese highlights
COMMITMENT: Notre Dame
PARTICULARS: 6-2/225
THE BUZZ: A huge linebacker who either sheds blocks or blows up the lead blocker.
3. TREVOR ERNO, Lakewood (Calif.) High
Erno highlights
COMMITMENT: Arizona
PARTICULARS: 6-1/225
THE BUZZ: Has the ability to slide off blockers and clog up the middle.
2. MANTI TE'O, Honolulu Punahou School
Te'o highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-2/230
THE BUZZ: Whether he is blitzing from the edge or smashing the lead blocker, he looks good.
1. JEROD ASKEW, Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Askew highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-1/230
THE BUZZ: Uses his huge frame and athleticism to blow up running plays.
OTHERS: Jon Bostic, Wellington (Fla.) Palm Beach Central; Nico Johnson, Andalusia (Ala.) High; Jarvis Jones, Columbus (Ga.) Carver; Jordan Whiting, Louisville Trinity (Ohio State commitment); Chris Williams, Abilene (Texas) High.
BEST CLOSING SPEED
5. DORIAN BELL, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway
Bell highlights
COMMITMENT: Ohio State
PARTICULARS: 6-0/226
THE BUZZ: So fast coming off the edge that he catches a lot of plays from the back side.
4. BARKEVIOUS MINGO, West Monroe (La.) High
Mingo highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-5/209
THE BUZZ: Really ate up ground at the Baton Rouge Nike Camp in pass coverage.
3. SHAYNE SKOV, Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity-Pawling School
Skov highlights
COMMITMENT: Stanford
PARTICULARS: 6-3/225
THE BUZZ: This projected linebacker actually plays defensive back, and has the speed and skills to do so.
2. RONNELL LEWIS, Dewar (Okla.) High
Lewis highlights
COMMITMENT: Oklahoma
PARTICULARS: 6-3/220
THE BUZZ: Uses his 100-meter track experience to help close the gap.
1. JELANI JENKINS, Wheaton (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel
Jenkins highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-1/212
THE BUZZ: Will pursue everything with his 4.45 speed.
OTHERS: Vontaze Burfict, Corona (Calif.) Centennial; Larvez Mars, Apopka (Fla.) High; Chris Norman, Detroit Renaissance (Michigan State commitment); Marquis Simmons, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez (USC commitment); Frankie Telfort, Miami Gulliver Prep.
BEST ATHLETE
5. BARKEVIOUS MINGO, West Monroe (La.) High
Mingo highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-5/209
THE BUZZ: Basketball star-turned-defensive monster wreaks havoc off the edge.
4. JELANI JENKINS, Wheaton (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel
Jenkins highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-1/212
THE BUZZ: This speed linebacker also gets to carry the ball on a regular basis.
3. RONNELL LEWIS, Dewar (Okla.) High
Lewis highlights
COMMITMENT: Oklahoma
PARTICULARS: 6-3/220
THE BUZZ: Plays a little of everything on the football field and excels in track.
2. Jarvis Jones, Columbus (Ga.) Carver
Jones highlights
PARTICULARS: 6-3/205
THE BUZZ: He was a member of state championship football and basketball teams this past season.
1. SHAYNE SKOV, Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity-Pawling School
Skov highlights
COMMITMENT: Stanford
PARTICULARS: 6-3/225
THE BUZZ: An all-around athlete who plays almost every position for his high school team and really excelled in coverage at State College Nike Camp.
OTHERS: Dorian Bell, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway (Ohio State commitment); Vontaze Burfict, Corona (Calif.) Centennial; Dan Fox, Cleveland St. Ignatius (Notre Dame commitment); Marquis Simmons, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez (USC commitment); Manti Te'o, Honolulu Punahou School.



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