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July 11, 2013

Rivals Underclassmen Challenge: Top LBs

MORE: Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge

DeSOTO, Texas -- The Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour was the final event in the inaugural Rivals Camp Series. Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell breaks down the top linebackers from the event.

RIVALS UNDERCLASSMEN CHALLENGE TOP LBS
1. LB Darrell Williams, Hoover, Ala. (2015)
Williams wasn't the biggest name at linebacker heading into the event, but he came out with the best performance and arguably the most upside of the 2015 prospects. He is long, he is explosive and quick to close and he has a great motor. He took as many reps as any other linebacker and never seemed to wear down in the heat. He has a chance to be special and should see an avalanche of offers sooner than later.

2. LB Malik Jefferson, Mesquite (Texas) Ralph H. Poteet (2015)
Jefferson is a long, lanky prospect with a great frame to add weight, and quick-twitch ability. He has very good hips and changes direction fluidly, and he is explosive moving forward and closing on smaller backs. He has long arms and uses them well in coverage, and he's a physical prospect. His ball skills were excellent in drills, and he is clearly an elite athlete.

3. LB Arthur McGinnis, New Orleans (La.) Warren Easton Senior (2015)
McGinnis was one of the best-looking linebackers on the hoof, and he has room to fill out even more and become a huge outside or inside 'backer. In drills he struggled a bit, playing high and being a bit stiff in change of direction, but when it came to the one-on-ones he was outstanding. He showed better change of direction, he turned and ran with most receivers, and he had a knack for making a play on the football. He was very active and probably played the ball more than anyone else.

4. LB Anthony Wheeler, Dallas (Texas) Skyline (2015)

Wheeler is similar to Jefferson in a few ways. He's slightly bigger but not quite as long, but he has the same quick-twitch ability to change direction with ease and explode to the football with consistent suddenness. Wheeler wasn't quite as successful as Jefferson in the one-on-ones, but he made his share of plays and was always around the ball.

5. LB Dylan Moses, Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab School (2017)
Moses is obviously a very physically gifted prospect, but the fact that he hasn't even started high school is simply amazing when you compare his build to others. He was thicker and bigger than almost every other linebacker at the event, and he was as physical as most. Moses was very good at getting a bump off the line and redirecting opponents, and he proved to be very fluid in drills. If you had to pick out the linebacker who hadn't played a down of varsity football in the group, Moses probably would be the last one anyone would choose.

6. LB Keaton Anderson, Florence, Ala. (2015)
Anderson isn't the biggest linebacker, and his listed size of 6-1 and 215 pounds appears to be a bit generous. However, he can turn and run, that's for sure. He is very fluid in his movements, he has loose hips, and he is very quick for a linebacker. On many plays, he was running stride for stride with running backs and disrupting plays way downfield. When the play was in front of him, he rarely took a false step. He needs to add size and strength, but he is very athletic.

7. LB Quarte Sapp, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton (2015)
Sapp is a long, thin linebacker with room to fill out and excellent ball skills. What stood out the most about him was how he used his long arms to play the ball, along with his excellent instincts. He rarely guessed and committed too early, and he showed good speed to close when he was left behind.

8. LB Anthony Hines, Dallas (Texas) Episcopal School of Dallas (2017)
Hines has good size for a 2017 prospect, and he's already long, despite his youth. Hines used his long arms not only to redirect opponents in the one-on-ones but to close on the football. He looked solid in drills as well, and he has a great frame to fill out. He's clearly an athletic kid who could grow into a defensive end in time.

9. LB Josh Smith, Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland
Smith is a big kid with a great frame who can cover a lot of ground with his size. He could end up growing into a defensive end down the line based on his size, if he's not careful. He was solid in drills but didn't really stand out in one-on-ones, likely because it's hard for bigger linebackers to check smaller running backs with so much spacing.

10. LB Ronnell Wilson, Abilene, Texas (2016)
Wilson was a relative unknown coming into the camp. However, he showed perhaps the best ball skills of anyone in drills and excellent footwork and coordination. He is still young and has some things to work on, but he stepped up in a big way on a big stage and that's a very good start.



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