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Five thoughts on the 2023 LB class

Anthony Hill
Anthony Hill (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney continues his position-by-position glance of the 2023 recruiting scene with five thoughts on the linebackers.

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THIS SERIES: Five thoughts on the 2023 QB class | RBs | WRs | TEs | OL | DEs | DTs

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LINEBACKERS COMING OFF THE BOARD

Tackett Curtis
Tackett Curtis (Rivals.com)

As their senior seasons get closer, many top linebackers are coming off the board, or at least narrowing it down to only a few schools.

The lone five-star Anthony Hill is down to Texas and Texas A&M. Tackett Curtis is down to Ohio State, USC and Wisconsin with a decision expected within weeks. Troy Bowles is committing Saturday, with Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma as his top three. Raul Aguirre committed to Miami on Tuesday. Raylen Wilson, a former Michigan commit, just picked Georgia.

At outside linebacker, Malik Bryant commits July 23, and Braylan Shelby is coming out with a top two.

It’s going to be a busy month of linebacker pledges and many of the top ones will be off the board by August.

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PERKINS IS ONE TO WATCH  

Suntarine Perkins has been committed to Ole Miss since late November. It was a huge recruiting win for coach Lane Kiffin and his staff as the Raleigh, Miss., four-star is the state’s No. 1 player and the No. 7 outside linebacker in the 2023 class. His versatility, athletic ability and length make him special.

Those talents also make him one of the top targets to flip for Alabama. The problem Ole Miss has is that there is chatter that most of Perkins’ family members are Crimson Tide fans and the Raleigh standout recently visited Tuscaloosa and loved it.

There have been rumors a flip could happen at any time, but Ole Miss is battling to keep him in the class as well, and it’s extra important since the Rebels haven’t landed the state’s top player since 2014.

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BRYANT IS BATTLEGROUND LB

Alabama seems to have the edge for four-star linebacker Malik Bryant, but the Orlando (Fla.) Jones standout lives two hours south of Gainesville and the Gators remain heavily involved in his recruitment. This is one that coach Billy Napier needs to close.

If the Crimson Tide can still just dip into the state of Florida for many of the top players even with Napier at Florida, Mike Norvell at Florida State and Mario Cristobal at Miami then those three programs will find it even more difficult to reach national relevance again.

Bryant is an in-state prospect only a couple hours away who has been recruited hard by the new staff. Florida has to reel him in, although it’s always tough when Alabama wants somebody.

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TEXAS COULD REALLY LOAD UP  

Texas already has one of the best classes in the country and the Longhorns have linebacker commits from four-stars Liona Lefau and S’Maje Burrell, but more could be on the way.

Five-star Anthony Hill has Texas in his top two, along with Texas A&M. Tausili Akana’s recruitment is wide open, but the Longhorns are definitely one of the schools involved and a reunification with Lefau could be in order. Texas and USC are the frontrunners for in-state recruit Braylan Shelby and the Longhorns could be the leader for Derion Gullette.

Things are going well for coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff, and they could be getting even better with more linebackers.

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JANSEY HAS STAR POTENTIAL  

Wisconsin has eight linebackers in the NFL as some were four-stars, some were three-stars and many of them should have been ranked higher - ahem, TJ Watt ranked as a three-star tight end.

Tyler Jansey fits the perfect mold of someone who could be following in their footsteps. The three-star linebacker from Batavia, Ill., committed to Wisconsin in late January and does not list any other Power Five offers.

Still, he covers ground, hits, gets people on the ground regularly and is someone who fits the physical mold of many of those other Wisconsin linebackers who were overlooked but thrived in the Badgers’ system. A three-star now? That almost guarantees success in Madison.

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