Sept. 17, 2005
CSTV Recruiting with Tom Lemming|
By Tom Lemming
Special to CSTV.com
The ninth in a series of positional prospect rankings examines the top outside linebackers from the recruiting class of 2006.
1. Sergio Kindle, Wilson (Texas), 6-3, 220 lbs., 4.5 (40-yard dash)
Kindle has the potential to become the No. 1 player in the country by the end of the year. A remarkable running back and linebacker, the Wilson product runs faster than almost every back he plays against, and he's got that aggressive instinct that makes him the prototypical defensive player. Wilson has the heart of a lion and the eye of the tiger; on film, he looks like he's just one step away from the NFL. He's got the potential to be a Lavar Arrington type. In 2004, he tallied 127 tackles, 12.0 sacks, 21 tackles for losses, 6 caused fumbles and batted down 6 basses. On offense (as a tailback), he amassed 1,868 yards on 243 carries and scored 21 touchdowns. He's committed to Texas.
2. Marcus Ball, Stephenson (Ga.), 6-0, 205 lbs., 4.48
It's a stretch to call him six-foot, but he's one of those linebackers -- and there are a few of them this year -- that is just all over the field. Ball makes mince-meat of just about every offense he goes up against. He can play off blocks and make plays just about everywhere even though he's the size of a safety. He kind of reminds me of Derrick Brooks, who was about the exact same size as Ball coming out of Washington High School in Pensacola in 1990. He recorded 122 tackles, 8 sacks and 18 tackles for losses last season. He's got Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Louisiana State all after him.
3. Brandon Spikes, Crest (N.C.), 6-4, 225 lbs., 4.7
One of the top two players in the state of North Carolina, he's big, active, instinctive, gets off blocks real well and is almost impossible to contain. He's another relentless-style `backer with size. 75 tackles, 20 TFL, earned All-State honors. Also had three interceptions, which is unusual for a linebacker. In the winter, he's a very good basketball player. Florida, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, UNC, Virginia and North Carolina State are the schools on top of his list.
4. Jeremiah Hunter, Manheim (Pa.), 6-2, 215 lbs., 4.6
The No. 1 linebacker prospect in Pennsylvania is not as big as some of the other guys, but he makes every play. At camps, he was always one of the standouts. Running, agility drills, strong focus -- this guy has it all. His potential is scary. He's not as big a name as some of the other guys, but he's just as talented -- just a relentless pursuer. The Manheim product is a sure tackler that does a good job fighting off blockers and locating the ball. Michigan and Tennessee are at the top of a list that includes Penn State, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Georgia, West Virginia and Ohio State.
5. Akeem Hebron, Good Council (Md.), 6-2, 195 lbs., 4.4
One of the fastest defensive players in the nation, Hebron has a shot of being rated after Sergio Kindle (who probably won't be topped at outside linebacker). He's very impressive on film; he runs like a defensive back but hits like a linebacker. A lot of people think he'll be a 220- or 230-pounder in a couple years. Hebron's got all the skills. He's as fast as all the backs, so he makes a lot of plays from behind. He's committed to Georgia.
6. Dorin Dickerson, West Allegheny (Pa.), 6-3, 210 lbs., 4.49
Dickerson is a classic jack-of-all-trades: this guy can play wide receiver, tight end, running back, outside and inside linebacker, safety and cornerback. The gifted athlete is committed to nearby Pittsburgh, and he's one of that program's biggest catches in years. He was the catalyst for their recruiting windfall, getting four or five All-Americans committed early; he was the first big name really to go. He will be an impact player as a true freshman at Pittsburgh, but at which position nobody knows.
7. Morrice Richardson, Westlake (Ga.), 6-1, 228 lbs., 4.58
Richardson is almost identical to Dickerson but a little bit bigger. He's probably the most underrated player in the Atlanta area. He's got very good grades (3.2 GPA, 1360 SAT) and very good production (124 tackles and 8 sacks). His team, Westlake, has a lot of great ballplayers to begin with, so he's played with a good number of really top-notch players. He's the cousin of a former high school All-American, Kelvin Johnson, who's at Georgia Tech now. He's got Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Southern California, Georgia chasing him.
8. Derrick Odom, Callaway (Miss.), 6-1, 225 lbs., 4.6
The most muscular defensive player in the country -- when you look at him, he looks like a WWE wrestler with his biceps. This kid looks like he's been on weights since he was two. He is a pounder, a guy that gets in there and loves to take on blockers and smash them around. He is also one of the more underrated players in the country -- a lot of people didn't know much about him. The Mississippi product benches 330 pounds and runs the 100-meters in 11.0, so he's got that great combination of size, speed and strength. He notched 13 sacks and 97 tackles on his way to All-State mention. Just a legit big-time player. Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn are coming after him the hardest.
9. Michael Morgan, Skyline (Texas), 6-2, 200 lbs., 4.5
The smallest of all the linebackers, he can fly to the ball. His highlight film is simply fantastic; everybody is talking about him. The freak of nature is simply one of the most athletic OLB prospects you will find at the high school level. He's not huge weight-wise, but he can handle big blockers and he has the speed to make plays from sideline to sideline. He totaled 90 tackles, 26 tackles for losses and 9 sacks in 2004 and was voted the 5A Sophomore of the Year in 2003. His brother played ball at UCLA, but Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and LSU are also coming after him.
10. Jared Norton, Rowlett (Texas), 6-3, 222 lbs., 4.5
It's a good year for linebackers in Texas. Norton is a physical, fast `backer with real good instincts. The Rowlett product shows excellent speed, reads defenses well, plays the game on his feet and is one of the most aggressive defensive players in Northern Texas. He accumulated 131 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 16 tackles for losses and 8 caused fumbles in 2004 on his way to earning All-State mention. Like Kindle, he's committed to Texas.