Rivals Rankings Week: Breaking down the 2024 linebackers
NEW 2024 POSITIONS RANKINGS: Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB | Running back | All-Purpose Back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Offensive Tackle | Offensive Guard | Center | Defensive Tackle | Weakside Defensive End | Strongside Defensive End | Inside Linebacker | Outside Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Athlete
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK SCHEDULE
Sunday: Who should be No. 1?
Friday: State rankings
Who’s No. 1?
The recruitment of Justin Williams was really interesting because it seemed like for so long Oregon was going to be unbeatable and the Ducks had an insurmountable lead but then one team - one monster - got involved and convinced the five-star linebacker to change his mind.
Georgia landed Williams’ commitment in late July and also added his Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge teammate Joseph Jonah-Ajonye earlier that month. It was a huge pledge as Williams is a phenomenal talent who can basically do it all.
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Williams has it all – he can run, he can cover, he can track players to the sideline, he can come up into the hole and knock people around. Last season he finished with 95 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
This linebacker group is very talented and some would argue very top-heavy, but Williams leads the way at this point.
Movers & Shakers
Demarcus Riddick: The Clanton (Ala.) Chilton County high four-star linebacker made one of the biggest moves of the summer when he flipped his commitment from Georgia to Auburn in a huge recruiting victory for coach Hugh Freeze. Getting closer to the decision, Alabama was a main contender to flip Riddick but he chose the Tigers instead.
Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa: USC reserved an entire official visit weekend for him and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco teammate Peyton Woodyard. Ohio State wowed him and has close connection James Laurinitis on staff. But Notre Dame won big by landing his commitment this summer as many believe Viliamu-Asa could end up being the best linebacker in the class.
Xavier Atkins: There have been rumors now for at least a month – if not longer – that Atkins, who was committed to Missouri early on and then flipped to LSU, would end up changing again, this time to Texas A&M. Atkins has moved to Humble (Texas) Summer Creek for his senior season so a flip might only be a matter of time but the Tigers still have his commitment.
Chris Cole: One of the best-looking linebackers in the class, Cole has yet to make his decision but it looks like Georgia leads with Tennessee right there for the Salem, Va., standout. An early September official to USC could be interesting because Cole loved his time in the area this past summer for the Elite 11 and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him climb up the rankings in the postseason.