It's a very good year for linebackers out West this year with two players ranked among the top five nationally at the position. After seeing La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat athlete Jonathan Cornell in action this year, we feel he deserves to be ranked among the top 100 players nationally himself.
Cornell weighed in at 6-2, 210 pounds at the SoCal Nike camp this past year but said he's lost quite a bit of weight since then.
"I always lose weight during the season," Cornell said. "I'm barely at 200 right now which is kind of small for an inside linebacker but that's where everyone is recruiting me. It's also where I love to play because I like going sideline to sideline and as long as you play fast and have good technique when you take on blockers, I think I'm fine playing inside now and in college."
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Cornell is having a big senior season and has totaled 59 tackles and two sacks in six games this season. Like he mentioned, the 'backer doesn't have great size but is incredibly quick and has great closing speed. He's also a big hitter with very good football instincts.
On the recruiting front, Cornell said he has a final five at this point with two schools leading the pack.
"My final five are UCLA, USC, Arizona State, Oregon and Mississippi," Cornell said. "UCLA and USC are my co-leaders and dead even right now. I haven't set up any of my trips yet and I plan to take all five of my visits after our season is over. I'll probably wait until the day before Signing Day before I make my decision."
Cornell went on to talk further about his co-leaders.
"Well, they're both local and that's important to me," Cornell said. "It's funny, growing up, I actually was a big Notre Dame fan but they never really recruited. So I didn't grow up favoring either of those two schools. I really have no idea how I'm going to be able to pick between them because basically everything I'm looking for is a wash right now.
"The top thing for me is probably the strength of the program and the direction they're going. USC already has that stability and I think UCLA is building something special as well. I'm also looking hard at my relationship with the coaching staff and that's a wash too. I probably have a better overall relationship with the coaches at UCLA and specifically Coach Bieniemy but as far as position coaches go, I have the best relationship with Coach Norton at USC over any other linebacker coach.
"Playing time is a small factor but not that much of one. I'm not that worried about depth charts because I know there is going to be competition no matter where I go. So seriously, I don't know how I'm going to be able to decide, I might just have to flip a coin or something. I've heard people say when you take your trips, a lot of times, you get that special feeling in your stomach and just know that one college is the place for you so hopefully that happens for me so I'll be able to make a decision."