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Top 2012 linebacker classes

When a coach recruits a linebacker, he’s hoping, not only for a great athlete, but a physical presence, an emotional leader and a player that teammates feed off of. One player like that can be a major boost. Several can elevate a program.

10. Virginia

Last Thursday, we took a look at the top ten 2012 commitment lists to date with regard to the defensive back position. Now we take a look at the top linebacker recruiting classes in 2012 to this point.

10. Virginia
The Cavaliers don’t have big numbers but they have a big linebacker committed in Top100 inside linebacker Kwontie Moore. Moore is true mike backer that will really excel at stuffing the run. COMMITMENTS: Kwontie Moore, Mark Hall

9. North Carolilna
Butch Davis has made freak athletes the norm in Chapel Hill in recent years – particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Though the current linebacker commits don’t necessarily contain a no-brainer national headliner, players like Phillip Williamson and Shakeel Rashad have the size and athleticism to develop into something special. COMMITMENTS: Shakeel Rashad, Phillip Williamson, Dan Mastromatteo, Christian Russell (Prep School)

8. Missouri
A pair of in-state prospects – Donavin Newsom and Michael Scherer – could be a dominating tandem for seasons to come in Columbia. Both prospects really bring the hat, and sitting at a combined 450 pounds heading into their senior seasons, the two will certainly have a physical presence on the next level. COMMITMENTS: Donavin Newsom, Michael Scherer, Torey Boozer, Markus Golden (JUCO)

7. Miami
The Hurricanes stayed close to home to add one of the top defenders in Florida in Miami (Fla.) Norland’s Keith Brown but Al Golden didn’t mind dipping into another immensely talented region with the addition of linebacker Raphael Kirby out of the greater Atlanta area. Both Brown and Kirby are four-stars and high school DE Dwayne Hollett out of Vero Beach, Fla. is a three-star with upside. COMMITMENTS: Keith Brown, Raphael Kirby, Dwayne Hollett

6. LSU
Lamar Louis could play offense or defense but with LSU’s stable of backs, we will project him to linebacker initially and he has the athleticism to be a tremendous one. Similar to Louis, Ronnie Feist doesn’t have a ton of size but he is relentless to the football and brings great athleticism. COMMITMENTS: Lamar Louis, Ronnie Feist, Trey Granier

5. Florida
The Gators don’t have quantity at the linebacker position but they sure do have quality in Lorenzo Phillips and Jeremi Powell. Both prospects are big versatile athletes that are ranked among the top 200 players in the country nationally. Landing Phillips out of the hands of LSU is a major coup – assuming Florida can hang on to him. COMMITMENTS: Lorenzo Phillips, Jeremi Powell

4. USC
Similar to Florida, USC only has two linebackers committed but they are both unique. Scott Starr is an inside linebacker that moves extremely well and will pop you. Jabari Ruffin, with his length and athleticism, has as much upside as any linebacker in the country. Ruffin’s highlight film speaks for itself. USC could add another sleeper to the fold as well in Torrance (Calif.) North’s Ryan McDaniel. COMMITMENTS: Jabari Ruffin, Scott Starr

Kwontie Moore headlines Virginia's class.

3. Texas
Dallas (Texas) Skyline could almost be dubbed “Linebacker High” considering the ridiculous amount of talent that it sends to the next level for the linebacker position. Top247 prospect Peter Jinkens is the latest to emerge from the program but his linebacker running mates of Timothy Cole (Brenham) and Alex De La Torre (Denton Ryan) come from some talent factories as well. COMMITMENTS: Timothy Cole, Peter Jinkens, Alex De La Torre

2. Michigan
When putting together a good group of linebackers, it doesn’t hurt to have two of the best in the nation in your back yard. That is the case with Michigan and its instate commits of James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone, both in-state prospects and both members of the Top247. As an added bonus, Michigan’s other two elite linebacker commits are out of rival Ohio State’s backyard. COMMITMENTS: James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Joe Bolden, Kaleb Ringer

1. Alabama
One of the top programs in the country in producing linebackers, Alabama’s job will be an easy one in molding the group currently committed. Reggie Ragland is the definition of a Nick Saban linebacker based on his size and athleticism. At 6-4, 220 pounds, Dillon Lee is a similarly big bodied kid that excels under Saban. The sleeper of the group may be Ryan Anderson who should be a tremendous pass-rusher in the 3-4 scheme. COMMITMENTS: Reggie Ragland, Dillon Lee, Tyler Hayes, Ryan Anderson.

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