Self-Scouting: Evaluating recent five-star linebackers
Last week and into this week, Rivals.com is taking a look at five-stars at each position from 2012 to 2015 and how they fared compared to our ranking to determine which spots we got right and which ones we got wrong. We move to linebackers.
Porter Gustin, Malik Jefferson, John Houston, Rashaan Evans, Raekwon McMillan, Tre Williams, Jaylon Smith, Reuben Foster, Matthew Thomas, Mike Mitchell, Alex Anzalone
Others did well, too, but the Alabama linebackers were the only two during this period taken in the first round, and it further proves the Crimson Tide can recruit and develop players at that position better than any other team in the country.
Evans and Foster were the first-round selections. After those two, McMillan was taken in the second round along with Smith, who was a near-guarantee as a first-round choice if he didn’t injure himself in the Fiesta Bowl while at Notre Dame.
Jefferson was a third-round pick along with Anzalone. Houston is still at USC but has not lived up to his billing coming out of high school as the No. 30 overall prospect in the 2015 recruiting class.
Linebacker is a position with a lot of misses over the last few cycles. Williams, Thomas and Mitchell all went undrafted even though all three looked like elite players during their high school playing days. As for this past draft class, Gustin went undrafted but was quickly signed to a deal by the New Orleans Saints.
Linebacker is a tough one for us, and I’m not sure why. Some guys look the part, play great in high school and have a high ceiling, and just never reach their potential. Alabama continues to be the program to produce the best linebackers, and Notre Dame did a great job with Smith.
Mitchell is the most puzzling, because he was a complete freak out of high school. Gustin is also surprising. This hit rate could get a lot worse down the line as well as many recent five-star linebackers haven’t hit their stride yet.