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National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jul 25, 2006
It's not a deep year at the linebacker position but there is certainly some good ones, especially at the top of the charts. Leading the way is Southern Cal commitment Chris Galippo (Anaheim, Calif.) and Virginia commitment J'Courtney Williams (Christchurch, Va.).
Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Committed to Southern Cal
Chris Galippo is the nation's No. 1 rated linebacker. Galippo will likely be a middle 'backer at the next level. He has the size and a great frame. Perhaps Galippo's top trait is his ability to shed blocks or work his way through traffic to make the play. He plays with great instincts, vision and can read and recognize very quickly. Galippo is a good tackler and can be very physical. He has good speed and can play sideline to sideline. Sometimes he lines up at the outside linebacker position and he can rush the passer or drop into coverage.
As a junior he was the 2005 Serra League co-defensive player of the year, Orange County Register Defensive Player of the Year, and the 2005-2006 ALL CIF-SS Division-1 first-team selection after finishing with 161 tackles.
Williams moves very well and he will go get the ball. He chases well and makes many plays in the backfield. Williams has tremendous closing speed and plays very aggressively, sometimes too aggressively. He moves well both downhill and laterally and is quite an athlete. Williams plays well in coverage.
Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater
Speed is the name of his game. He plays on the outside and he can play sideline to sideline, showing good laterally speed as well. Edwards never gives up on a play and can chase you down on any given play. Edwards is a good hitter that plays aggressively. He is also effective in pass defense. Edwards drops well, shows good vision and an excellent break on the ball. In certain schemes at the next level he could play a hybid safety/ linebacker position.
Last season as a junior he recorded 120 tackles, five interceptions, five sacks, and three fumble recoveries.
Committed to Iowa
Nielsen plays the MIKE position. First of all, this kid is a terrific athlete and he also plays fullback. He has great size and speed and is very raw at this stage, only playing the linebacker position full-time for one time. Nielsen flies to the football, is aggressive and physical and is a good tackler. He can play sideline to sideline and also fights off blocks well at the point of attack. Nielson is raw with tremendous upside. Nielson previously play safety so that will help him develop more quickly with his coverage skills. He has the potential to be a terrific linebacker for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the team he committed to.
Batesville (Miss.) South Panola
First of all he has great size and for that size he runs especially well. When he identifies where the ball is, he shows super closing speed, especially when it’s north-south. Strong is physical at the point of attack when taking on blockers and in bringing down the ball carrier. He does need to work on his lateral speed and quickness and that should come with time. Strong also shows excellent pass rushing skills and if he gets much bigger he could certainly put his hand down and be an “edge” guy at the next level.
Strong had 94 tackles and four sacks as a junior.
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