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2013 Football Recruiting Rankings: Linebackers

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National Signing Day 2013 is right around the corner and Athlon Sports is releasing its position-by-position rankings for the Class of 2013 based on the Athlon Consensus 100. Who is left on the board? Who has the best class at one position? Who had positional needs to fill? And, obviously, who are the stars of tomorrow fans can look forward to at every position?

The linebacker position has become one of the most difficult to pinpoint in the recruiting process. A prospect could range from 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-4 and from 200 to 260 pounds, depending on what type of scheme he will be used in. The proliferation of the hybrid 3-4 outside linebacker/defensive end has created what could be considered an entirely new position. Nick Saban calls it the "Jack Back" and has won three national titles with elite players like Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw and Xzavier Dickson (who is 6-3, 265) playing the position. Still other more traditional schemes feature smaller, speedy outside linebackers who can excel at 6-foot and 210 pounds. The definition of "linebacker" has been stretched mightily in the last decade.

And Saban has the next great one in end/backer hybrid Jonathan Allen (pictured). He is a massive prospect who could easily grow into a true end, but his frame and skill set seems perfectly suited for the Jack Back. The Tide also is still in on two top 10 players nationally in Reuben Foster and Matthew Thomas. Foster, who is a true middle linebacker, has been committed to both Auburn and Alabama and will have Washington and Georgia in the mix as well when all the dust settles. Thomas is a freak athlete who will pick between Miami, Florida State, Georgia, Alabama and USC.

Should Bama land both, they would easily claim the top class in the nation — to go with four returning starters at the linebacker position. Otherwise, the Florida Gators likely can claim the best collection of tacklers with the No. 5 (Alex Anzalone), No. 6 (Daniel McMillian) and No. 19 (Matt Rolin) overall linebackers in the nation heading to Gainesville. Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers deserve a tip of the cap as well, landing three of the top 23 (No. 13, No. 18, No. 23) LBs in the nation. 

The No. 1 linebacking prospect is headed to Notre Dame, though, as Jaylon Smith showcased in the U.S. Army Bowl how talented the four-time state champion will be on the next level. He is a freakish athlete who can rush the passer, drop into coverage and block kicks on special teams. Look for Brian Kelly to have fun finding ways of getting Smith involved early in his career.

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As a side note, the state of Virginia is loaded at the position in 2013 as five of the top 30 linebackers in the nation hail from The Commonwealth. However, only one is slated to stay close to home — Holland Fisher at Virginia Tech.

2013 Positional Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ATH

 

Name

AC100

Hometown

Ht

Wt

Verbal

1.

Jaylon Smith

No. 2

Fort Wayne, IN

6-3

220

Notre Dame

2.

Reuben Foster

No. 6

Auburn, AL

6-1

240

--

3.

Matthew Thomas

No. 8

Miami, FL

6-3

210

--

4.

Jonathan Allen

No. 17

Ashburn, VA

6-3

250

Alabama

5.

Alex Anzalone

No. 53

Reading, PA

6-3

230

Florida

6.

Daniel McMillian

No. 56

Jacksonville, FL

6-2

220

Florida

7.

Mike Mitchell

No. 58

Plano, TX

6-3

220

Ohio St

8.

Holland Fisher

No. 59

Midlothian, VA

6-1

210

Virginia Tech

9.

Isaac Savaiinaea

No. 93

Honolulu, HI

6-3

230

--

10.

Larenz Bryant

No. 96

Charlotte, NC

6-1

210

South Carolina

11.

Michael Hutchings

No. 100

Concord, CA

6-2

215

USC

12.

Trey Johnson

No. 111

Lawrenceville, GA

6-1

220

Ohio St

13.

Dorian O'Daniel

No. 121

Olney, MD

6-1

205

Clemson

14.

Deoundrei Davis

No. 130

Cypress, TX

6-3

215

Texas

15.

Myles Jack

No. 137

Bellevue, WA

6-2

215

UCLA

16.

Peter Kalambayi

No. 145

Matthews, NC

6-3

235

Stanford

17.

Mike McCray

No. 147

Trotwood, OH

6-4

230

Michigan

18.

Ben Boulware

No. 148

Anderson, SC

6-0

220

Clemson

19.

Matt Rolin

No. 152

Ashburn, VA

6-3

210

Florida

20.

Yannick Ngakoue

No. 159

Washington, DC

6-3

235

--

21.

Tim Kimbrough

No. 165

Indianapolis, IN

6-1

225

Georgia

22.

Quinton Powell

No. 172

Daytona Beach, FL

6-2

195

--

23.

Jayron Kearse

No. 174

Fort Myers, FL

6-3

200

Clemson

24.

Deon Hollins Jr.

No. 178

Missouri City, TX

6-2

225

UCLA

25.

E.J. Levenberry Jr.

No. 183

Woodbridge, VA

6-3

225

Florida St

26.

Doug Randolph

No. 203

Richmond, VA

6-3

235

Notre Dame

27.

Jermaine Grace

No. 220

Miramar, FL

6-1

200

--

28.

Jon Reschke

No. 223

Bloomfield, MI

6-2

225

Michigan St

29.

Marcus Newby

No. 228

New Potomac, MD

6-1

210

Nebraska

30.

Chans Cox

No. 236

Lakeside, AZ

6-3

230

Arizona St


View the complete 2013 Athlon Consensus 100

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AC100 On Campus: Torii Hunter Jr., Part II

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AC100 On Campus: Josh Banderas, Part II