Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: Ranking the linebackers
ATLANTA -- More than 100 of the top players in the nation participated in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium last week. The Rivals analyst team is breaking down the status of each player at the marquee event based on their performance against elite competition. Today, we look back at the linebackers.
There were three names circulating at the top for this honor, but the newly minted Florida commitment made a convincing case as the top linebacker with multiple interceptions during the 7-on-7 portion of the Five-StarChallenge. Wingo moves really well. He's smooth, especially for his size, and was very agile and bent well during positional drills. He also flashed some raw power during pass-rush drills.
#Florida #Gators commit Derek Wingo won the linebacker MVP award at the #RivalsChallenge . Check out two of his best plays...and let us know, which one is the best INT + FlipSZN ? @DerekWingo @rivalsmike @Cassidy_Rob @Corey_Bender @GatorsTerritory pic.twitter.com/N5vrGa8QmX— Rivals (@Rivals) June 26, 2019
Sewell is a freakish blend of size and athleticism. The Utah four-star came to Atlanta and managed multiple interceptions and pass breakups in 1-on-1s and 7-on-7. He definitely looked the part, easily blowing past running backs in pass-rush situations and flashing some incredible power. He also has an impressive spin move in his arsenal and capped the Five-Star Challenge with an eye-opening 18.95-second time in the Gauntlet competition.
Flowe, the No. 1 linebacker in the country, could easily have taken home the top spot in these positional rankings. The California native was a man on a mission in Atlanta. He plays with a humongous chip on his shoulder. He's super physical and explosive. He was dominant during pass-rush workouts with an unguardable burst. He blocked another linebacker 15 yards downfield and probably could've pushed him into the Mercedes-Benz Stadium stands. He finished the day with plenty of break-ups in 7-on-7.
French was a sight to see during positional workouts. The Rivals250 linebacker is 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, but is extremely agile and explosive with quick feet. During cat-and-mouse, French flashed off his speed and ability to break down and tackle in the open field. He also pushed for reps throughout the day.
Wingo may have led linebackers in interceptions, but Jacobs was certainly a close second. The Penn State verbal commitment had a few slip-ups during 1-on-1s but countered with a huge interception. That momentum carried over to the 7-on-7 showcase where he was a turnover machine and outstanding in coverage.
Steiner recently cracked the Rivals250 and it was clear why. He's an instinctual linebacker who was really good in coverage. He missed on a few reps during 1-on-1s, but showed improvement throughout the day. By the end of the Five-Star Challenge, the four-star was exhibiting a lot of confidence and making a ton of plays.
Thomas endured some bumps in Atlanta but turned heads quite a bit when it came time to cover tight ends in 1-on-1s and in 7-on-7. Thomas is a long outside linebacker that's really outstanding against the pass. We know he can get after quarterbacks, but he showed some pop during cat-and-mouse drills and moved really well during positional drills. He flashed a ton of burst in 1-on-1s and was making plays time and time again throughout 7-on-7.
Webb rounds out the group of top linebackers after crushing the 7-on-7 tournament. The Georgia four-star had some misses in 1-on-1s, though he had a good day for the most part in coverage. It's an area he seems to be raw in, but there's a lot of room for improvement. He capped the Five-Star Challenge with a bunch of batted-down passes and a pick-six, which landed him on this list.