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July 3, 2011

FlaVarsity ranks the top linebackers

Over the past few years, there have been some very good high school linebackers that have come through the state of Florida. In 2009, Jon Bostic from Palm Beach Central high school, who ended up at the University of Florida, and Zeke Motta from Vero Beach high school, who ended up signing with Notre Dame, were two of the better linebackers in the country. In 2010, Florida State University picked up two of the best linebackers in Christian Jones, from Lake Howell high school, and Jeff Luc, from Treasure Coast high school. This past year, Clemson University was on the winning end for Tony Steward's services. The Pedro Menendez linebacker was offered by just about everyone in the country.

Headlined by Noor Davis, the 6-foot-4, 225 pound linebacker from The Villages high school and Keith Brown, the 6-foot-2, 230 pound linebacker from Miami Norland high school, this linebacker class is one of the strongest in years. There are 21 linebackers in the FlaVarsity Top 160 and there is a good chance that at least 10 of them compete for starting positions in their first year.

This list also contains some very underrated prospects that may not have caught the eye of all the big-time schools. Stanley Sylverain, the 6-foot-3, 215 pound linebacker from Golden Gate high school, is a very talented prospect. He lacks any major offers, but he will catch on with some lucky school during his senior year. Kevin Elkins, the 6-foot-1, 205 pound linebacker from Palm Bay high school, is another player with a bright future. His play is very similar to Sean Spence, the current University of Miami linebacker.

As mentioned above, this linebacker class has the chance to be very strong this season and should produce plenty of D-1 prospects. Here are the linebackers who made the FlaVarsity Top 160.

Noor Davis


6-foot-4 | 225 | The Villages

Buzz: Davis is very impressive on film. He has a ton of speed, to go with a great frame. He has the ability to be on the All-Pac 10 team early in his career at Stanford.


Keith Brown


6-foot-2 | 230 | Miami Norland

Buzz: Brown is a terrific player. He may the best middle linebacker prospect in the state. He can stop the run with ease and play in coverage with no problem.


Jeremi Powell


6-foot-2 | 200 | Pinella Park

Buzz: Powell absolutely wreaks havoc on the field. He can get sideline to sideline with ease while protecting against the run and is very solid in coverage.


Jamie Willis


6-foot-2 | 180 | Fort Meade

Buzz: Willis has a strong, thick frame and he can run very well in coverage. When rushing the passer, it is very difficult for the offensive lineman to slow him down. He will add weight with time.

Schools in the mix: Ball State, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Florida State, Indiana, Miami, Purdue

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

James Burgess Jr.


6-foot-0 | 200 | Homestead

Buzz: Burgess doesn't have the size of an elite linebacker, but his strength, instincts, and coverage skills more than make up for his lack of height.

Schools in the mix: Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Shakeel Rashad


6-foot-2 | 223 | Episcopal

Buzz: Rashad has added bulk and still maintained his speed. The long time UNC commitment plays very fast and is always in position to make the play.


Joseph Jackson


6-foot-1 | 215 | First Coast

Buzz: Jackson is not your typical linebacker. He rushes the pass well and stops the run, but he is most impressive in coverage.


Reggie Northrup


6-foot-2 | 220 | First Coast

Buzz: Northrup is a very instinctive linebacker and he moves very well laterally. He doesn't have elite speed, but he makes up for it by always being in proper position.


Jawand Blue


6-foot-0 | 200 | West Boca Raton

Buzz: Blue may not have ideal size, yet, but he really knows how to throw his weight around. He's aggressive and hits like a truck. He also pursues the ball very well.

Schools in the mix: East Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Miami, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Erick Hallmon


6-foot-1 | 190 | Cardinal Gibbons

Buzz: Hallmon is a finesse linebacker. He sheds blockers with an array of different moves and uses his hands well. He also has very good closing speed when pursuing the ball.

Schools in the mix: Buffalo, East Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Miami, Texas Tech, UCF, USF

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

James Washington


6-foot-3 | 220 | Winter Park

Buzz: Washington can play linebacker or develop into an end at some point. He looks like the Falcons John Abraham off the edge, with his strength and array of moves.


Patrick Jean


6-foot-3 | 200 | Treasure Coast

Buzz: Jean has terrific lateral speed and has a 2nd gear when pursuing the football. He can play both linebacker and defensive end and perform at a very high level.

Schools in the mix: Cincinnati, FAU, Florida State, Kansas, Louisville, Purdue, South Carolina, USF, Western Michigan

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Kadeem Thomas


6-foot-0 | 230 | Godby

Buzz: Thomas is strong and aggressive, which is what you want in a linebacker. He is smooth when dropping into coverage and has good enough lateral speed.

Schools in the mix: Cincinnati, Florida A&M, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina State, Tennessee

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Eric Striker


6-foot-1 | 200 | Armwood

Buzz: Striker is an impressive athlete that can play safety or outside linebacker. The recent Oklahoma commitment is a heavy hitter with good lateral speed.


Kevin Elkins


6-foot-1 | 205 | Palm Bay

Buzz: Elkins plays a lot like Sean Spence out of high school. He is an aggressive, hard hitting linebacker, who is a terror off the edge when pass rushing.

Schools in the mix: FAU, FIU, Georgia, Miami, USF, UCF

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Kenneth Bynum


6-foot-1 | 213 | Raines

Buzz: Bynum is a quick linebacker and he does well covering in space. He has good lateral speed. His long arms are a definite advantage.

Schools in the mix: Cincinnati, Illinois, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Southern Miss, Stanford

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Andy Garcia


6-foot-0 | 215 | Hialeah

Buzz: Garcia has an incredible burst when rushing the passer. He really uses his hands well to shed blockers and he is quick enough to defend in coverage.

Schools in the mix: Bowling Green, Central Michigan, FAU, FIU, Illinois State, Marshall, Northern Illinois, Vanderbilt

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Corey Griffin


6-foot-2 | 210 | Coral Reef

Buzz: Griffin plays linebacker, but his play may be best suited for defensive end. He is very quick off the edge and uses his long arms to get to the quarterback quickly.

Schools in the mix: Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, FAU, FIU, New Mexico, USF

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Stanley Sylverain


6-foot-3 | 215 | Golden Gate

Buzz: Sylverain is someone to keep an eye on. He has the size and speed to be a very productive linebacker and with a strong senior season, more offers will come.

Schools in the mix: Clemson, Florida, North Carolina, UCF, USF, West Virginia

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Justin Horton


6-foot-2 | 210 | East Ridge

Buzz: Horton may develop into an end, which may be his best spot. He hits the hole hard and can really disrupt a play. He needs to shed blocks better and be more aggressive.

Schools in the mix: Citadel, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Temple, USF

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Grady Redding


5-foot-11 | 175 | Cocoa

Buzz: Redding is a small linebacker, but his effort and will to succeed is impressive. He finds the hole and gets after the quarterback well with good speed.

Schools in the mix: Alabama, Auburn, Colorado, FAU, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Miami, Mississippi, Rutgers, UCLA, USF, Vanderbilt

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

If you have any questions or comments, Tom Loy, FlaVarsity.com Recruiting Analyst, can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter - @tomloy2002.



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