football Edit

Alabama a rising producer of five-star linebackers

Rashaan Evans
Rashaan Evans (AP Images)

Over the history of Rivals dating back to 2002, certain states have produced more five-star prospects than others at certain positions. Today, we move to linebackers: Which states have been most impactful and which ones have done surprisingly well?

MORE IN THE SERIES: Five-star Quarterbacks | Running backs | Wide receivers | Tight ends | Offensive line | Defensive ends | Defensive tackles

*****

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

*****

Five-star linebackers in Rivals era
State  Five-star linebackers 

California

9

Florida

8

Alabama

7

Maryland

6

Texas

6

*****

ON THE RISE: Alabama (7 five-star LBs)

The names: Nico Johnson, Rashaan Evans, Demouy Kennedy, Mack (Lyndell) Wilson, Reuben Foster, Tre Williams, Ben Davis

Overview: Linebacker has been a strong position for the state of Alabama during the Rivals era but especially since 2009 to present day. All seven five-star linebackers have come during that stretch, especially in the mid 2010s as Evans, Wilson, Foster, Williams and Davis came during that time. Kennedy was debated as a five-star prospect last recruiting cycle, but he made the cut and he could be a future star for the Crimson Tide.

Farrell’s take: This has been a great state - especially recently - for elite linebackers. Davis has yet to break out, but Foster and Evans have been elite and are in the NFL, while Kennedy is just getting started. There will be more because the state of Alabama has improved in talent immensely over the last decade.

*****

AS EXPECTED: California (9), Florida (8)

Justin Flowe
Justin Flowe (A.J. Jacobson)

The names: Vontaze Burfict, Chris Galippo, Rey Maualuga, Curtis Robinson, John Houston, Allen Bradford, Mique Juarez, Caleb Kelly, Justin Flowe, Ernie Sims, Derek Wingo, Keith Rivers, Nigel Bradham, Matthew Thomas, Tony Steward, Willie Williams, Christian Jones

Overview: California has had the most five-star linebackers in Rivals history, with some hits - especially Burfict and Maualuga - but also some big misses along the way. Flowe is expected to be a fantastic linebacker at Oregon after he completely dominated physically on the high school level. Florida is second on the list, also with some hits and misses along the way, but the state hasn’t had many five-stars in recent years other than Wingo.

Farrell’s take: Two of the top talent-producing states continue to churn out five-stars. Players like Burfict, Maulaluga, Sims and Bradham have done very well, but there are some inexplicable busts here, like Williams and Galippo. Florida especially looks like it will produce more at linebacker very soon, and California had Flowe last year and he is one of the best I’ve seen in high school.

*****

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Maryland (6)

Chris Braswell
Chris Braswell (Rivals.com)

The names: Rahshaun Smith, Jelani Jenkins, Keandre Jones, Wesley Jefferson, Jordan Anthony, Chris Braswell

Overview: Not all six ended up playing their entire careers in the state of Maryland, as Smith and Anthony transferred to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, like so many others across the country. Braswell was a top player at Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances, one of the top programs in the entire country, and he signed with Alabama in the last recruiting class. Maryland has produced as many five-star linebackers as Texas and more than Georgia.

Farrell’s take: Ahh, the land of the linebacker busts. Jenkins had a solid career at Florida and played a few years in the NFL, and the jury is still out on Braswell. But the rest were huge disappointments, and I’m actually stunned.

I was never sold on Jones, but Jefferson and Anthony should have been stars. Jefferson was solid and had 110 tackles his junior year but gave up football and Anthony is still looking for a home after doing very little at Michigan. Maryland and D.C. have been good for churning out players and have had some very good linebackers, but the five-stars haven’t lived up to the hype.

*****

THE OTHERS

As stated above, Texas has had six five-star linebackers in Rivals history, followed by Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia with four each. Michigan and Ohio have had three each and then Illinois, Nevada, Utah and Tennessee two each. Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and South Carolina can boast one each.