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July 26, 2007

Category rankings: Linebackers


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 to come up with the most extensive and accurate prospect rankings and evaluations you will find. In the process of evaluating overall talent, several prospects gained notice for their mastery of specific skills.

Today we rank the top five linebacker prospects in four categories. It is no surprise that five-star Arthur Brown ranks among the nation's best in each.

LB rankings: Best instincts | Best run stopper | Best closing speed | Best athlete

Best Instincts
Jeremy Crabtree's take: What a big-time group this is. Bradham and Brown are rare in the fact that they can diagnose a play and know what's going to happen before it happens. That's the thing I personally makes them stand out over a lot of other guys. Filer is really strong in this category also. He's just always in the right spot and that comes from great instincts.

Mike Farrell's take: There's no such thing as a great linebacker without instincts and these guys all read and react as well as anybody. Bradham always seems to know where the play is going.

JC Shurburtt's take: Because of his big play ability, Bradham at the top of this list is a no brainer in my opinion. These guys are the naturals for sure.

  • Vote: Who has the best instincts?
  • 1. Nigel Bradham, 6-2, 230, Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla Bradham highlights
    2. Arthur Brown, 6-1, 210, Wichita (Kan.) East Brown highlights
    3. Shayne Hale, 6-3, 235, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway Hale highlights
    4. Nigel Carr, 6-3, 220, Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast Carr highlights
    5. Steven Filer, 6-3, 220, Chicago (Ill.) Mt. Carmel Filer highlights
    Best Run Stopper
    Crabtree's take: Brown is all over the field, and he definitely makes a lot of big stops in the run game. I think Jon Major goes overlooked a lot because of the strong linebacker class, but he's really strong at stopping the run.

    Farrell's take: For a guy with Brown's size to be on top of this list tells you how special he is. He may be slightly undersized, but he brings it.

    Shurburtt's take: The run stoppers are typically mike linebackers that can fill gaps well. All in this group has that type of ability.

  • Vote: Who is the best run stopper?
  • 1. Arthur Brown, 6-1, 210, Wichita (Kan.) East Brown highlights
    2. Jon Major, 6-4, 230, Parker (Colo.) Ponderosa Major highlights
    3. Shayne Hale, 6-3, 235, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway Hale highlights
    4. Etienne Sabino, 6-3, 228, Miami (Fla.) Dr. Krop Sabino highlights
    5. Lynn Katoa, 6-2, 220, Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood Katoa highlights
    Best Closing Speed
    Crabtree's take: Brown, Robinson and Bradham close better than anybody in the nation. All three of those guys can get to the football in the blink of an eye. Same with Katoa. Watch his tape again if you haven't in a while. Man, he gets to the football fast.

    Farrell's take: Brown has an extra gear when he sniffs the football and it's no surprise that FSU boasts two players on this list, they always have guys who can run.

    Shurburtt's take: Closing speed is one of the most important attributes a linebacker can have. All of these prospects can make up a ton of ground in a hurry.

  • Vote: Who has the best closing speed?
  • 1. Arthur Brown, 6-1, 210, Wichita (Kan.) East Brown highlights
    2. Marcus Robinson, 6-2, 210, Homestead (Fla.) Robinson highlights
    3. Nigel Bradham, 6-2, 230, Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla Bradham highlights
    4. Nigel Carr, 6-3, 220, Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast Carr highlights
    5. Lynn Katoa, 6-2, 220, Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood Katoa highlights
    Best Athlete
    Crabtree's take: This is a great group of athletes. I really think Harris, Buchanon, Robinson and Brown could easily be flipped around in this group and nobody would complain. Really when you throw Bradham in here, all five are definitely worthy.

    Farrell's take: Harris vs. Buchanon was an interesting battle in the voting as both guys are super athletic.

    Shurburtt's take: The guys in the athlete group can typically do amazing things physically. Harris has a ways to go as a linebacker but there is no question he's a tremendous specimen.

  • Vote: Who is the best athlete?
  • 1. Jerrell Harris, 6-3, 230, Gadsden (Ala.) Gadsden City Harris highlights
    2. Ramon Buchanon, 6-0, 181, Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay Buchanon highlights
    3. Marcus Robinson, 6-2, 210, Homestead (Fla.) Robinson highlights
    4. Arthur Brown, 6-1, 210, Wichita (Kan.) East Brown highlights
    5. Nigel Bradham, 6-2, 230, Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla Bradham highlights



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