Best Case Scenario: Linebacker

With Baylor losing a staple at the Linebacker position, with the departure of Bryce Hager to the NFL, the Bears are in search for a High School product to fill that position. In this installment of our "Best Case Scenario" series, we take a look at the Linebacker position and go over who the Bears are after on the recruiting trail.

The Bears gained the recent commitment of 3* Plano (TX) Prestonwood Christian LB Deonte Williams this week and gave the Bears a strong player at the position. While the Bears don't necessarily need several LB prospects, in the 2016 class, they are looking to fill shoes left by NFL rookie Bryce Hager, and others. With 1 LB in place, I look for the Bears to take 1 more in this class.

Here is an idea of where Baylor stands in June. The number in parentheses indicates the number of recruits Baylor is looking to sign at the position for the Class of 2016. The names do not necessarily reflect Baylor’s official board but are the best guesstimate of who Baylor is targeting, based on research done by BearsIllustrated.

Defense

Linebacker (1-2)

Committed (1): Deonte Williams

Favorite:

Dontavious Jackson is a 4* LB out of Houston (TX) Alief Elsik HS. Jackson is one of the most sought after at the Inside Linebacker position, and it shows as he is rated the #1 player at his position, in the State, by Scout.com. Baylor has a great relationship with Jackson, and have been linked as one of Jackson's favorites. I look for the Bears to be in it until the end for Jackson. Scout.com's Greg Powers had this to say about Jacksons abilities: "Jackson is a true middle linebacker and brings to the table the skills you are looking for at the position. He's a pretty physical player and has good size to stand up and bring down punishment in the middle of a defense. He diagnoses the play quickly and is tough to block. He gets downhill quickly, showing great vertical quickness to get to ball carriers. He is at his best against the run. He runs through tackles and is a sure finisher."

Jordan Carmouche is another top LB who the Bears are hot on the trail for. Carmouche has been to Baylor a few times, and has often spoke highly of the Bears coaching staff. As is Jackson, Carmouche has several high caliber offers, and will certainly take his decision down to the wire. I like the Bears chances here with Carmouche. Scout.com's Gabe Brooks had this to say about the 4* prospect out of Manvel (TX) HS: "Carmouche is an athletic even-front outside linebacker who thrives playing in space. Athletic enough to play safety at times for his HS team. Breaks on the ball quickly and drops into coverage well. Possesses closing speed to be dangerous in backside pursuit vs. the run. Can improve on holding up at the point of attack. Pad level can be too high at times when striking, but has big hitting potential. Overall, very good perimeter LB."

Next In Line:

Jeffrey McCullough is a highly sought after National recruit, the Bears have been linked to at times. I believe that McCullough is likely headed to the SEC and might be headed out of State. Nevertheless, McCullough has visited Baylor, so there could be some interest there. Baylor was recently held out of McCulloughs top 10, but never count the Bears out, especially if they have another Championship season.

On The Radar:

Tyree Horton is an interesting thought here for the Bears. Horton is a JUCO prospect and is currently committed to Florida State. It is rumored, however, that Horton could be visiting the Bears at some point this summer, so I wouldn't necessarily count the Bears out just yet. Baylor has always stood well on its feet, when hosting recruits on campus. Maybe something will strike between Baylor and Horton. Either way, it will be very tough for the Bears to pry Horton away from Florida State and Jimbo Fisher.

Prediction: With Williams committed, I think the Bears will likely take 1 more at the LB position. Right now, I think the Bears have the best shot at Dontavious Jackson. Elsik was the home to current Bear, Ishmael Zamora, and Jackson knows that he could come in and compete with Taylor Young for the MLB position at Baylor. Jackson is a true inside guy, and Baylor doesn't have much depth at that position. In the end, if Baylor strikes out with both Carmouche and Jackson, I believe they will push away from the table at LB and look to fill another position of need.


Bears Illustrated Top Stories