USAAB East Preview: Linebackers

The East team is loaded at the linebacker position this year. There are several players who could see some action at other positions if there are depth concerns. let's take a closer look at the East linebackers.

Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer four-star tight end Gerald Christian is listed on the roster as a linebacker. ranks Christian as the nation's No. 4 rated tight end, but there is a good chance he ends up on the defensive line at Florida. Christian is a freak athlete that could get time at tight end since there is only one listed on the roster.

Positional Ranking: 4

Scouting Report: Christian is an elite athlete at his size. He has great body control for someone pushing 6-4 and 245 pounds. He can make adjustments on balls and he looks natural when running in the open field. For his size, he is not the blocker expected, but that will come in time. He just needs to work on his technique off the tackle and he will be a total package tight end. His combination of hands, size, and athleticism make him elite. --Chad Simmons/ South Recruiting Analyst

Frederick (Md.) Governor Thomas Johnson four-star middle linebacker Nick Forbes is one of those players that has wowed us at times and then he has disappeared at times. We want to see the consistency that we saw from Forbes as a junior and on the big stage surrounded by all this talent. Forbes is headed to California.

Positional Rank: 9

Scouting Report: Sideline to sideline he is one of the most athletic looking linebackers in the country. Shows outstanding lateral movement. Forbes excels in pass coverage. His size will likely dictate that he plays inside, but his skills may be best as a weakside outside backer. Very competitive and a leader on the field, needs to show better consistency and show he is hungry. Very intelligent player and should excel in the right scheme.--Bob Lichtenfels/Scout

Stamford (Conn.) four-star Khairi Fortt is the second player from the state of Connecticut playing in this year's contest joining fellow Penn State pledge Silas Redd. Fortt is a very active player. He can play in space or in traffic. The versatile athlete will have a chance to shine in front of some of the nation's best.

Positional Ranking: 5

Scouting Report: Fortt has great size and speed for a linebacker. He is versatile and can play inside or outside. He is very good at shedding blockers and playing in traffic. Fortt shows solid cover skills and can cover the hook/curl zone or the flats. Solid hitter, needs to work more on form tackling instead of trying to deliver a knockout blow.-- Bob Lichtenfels/

Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon-McMillan four-star middle linebacker Mike Hull when healthy just exudes toughness and an incredible desire to destroy everything in his path. Hull was a very accomplished wrestler and had he chosen wrestling he likely could have went to college for it. Wrestling in Pennsylvania is tough and anyone who does it gets extra credit from me. Hull is headed to Penn State and should continue the legacy at "Linebacker U".

Positional Ranking: 2

Scouting Report:Hull is a tough kid who is a leader. He always makes plays and seems to have a knack for the ball. He is a fierce hitter on defense and plays well in traffic. Very solid in pursuit and can play sideline to sideline. Very instinctual and rarely puts himself in a bad position. Hull is also a talented running back. He is coming back from an injury. --Bob Lichtenfels/East Recruiting Analyst

This game is important for a player like Zionsville (Ind.) Community linebacker Blake Lueders. Lueders plays middle linebacker, but at 6-foot-5 and 250-pounds his future at Notre Dame will likely be along the defensive line. He could become a difference maker at the next level with his size and quickness. He has an incredible nose for the ball.

Positional Ranking: 24

Scouting Report:Lueders plays middle linebacker in high school and his ability to sift through traffic as big as he is, is nothing short of amazing. His read and react skills are very good. Seems to struggle from time to time when a lineman is able to engage him and get their hands inside him. He is deceptively quick off the snap. Will likely move to defensive end in college.--Bob Lichtenfels/East Recruiting Analyst

Grandview (Colo.) five-star Chris Martin is another player listed on the roster as a linebacker, but his future at the next level will be at defensive end. Martin is one of the most charismatic kids in the country, but he backs it up on the gridiron. Martin drew the ire of many fans when he switched allegiances from Notre Dame to California. A lot of eyes will be on Martin in San Antonio.

Positional Ranking: 3

Scouting Report: The top jumbo athlete in the country, Martin is athletic enough to be the exception to the rule. The rule is that 6-4 and 240 pound linebackers put their hand down and play defense in college, and while defensive end is still a real possibility, Martin has the foot quickness, awareness, effort, and agility to be a big linebacker on the college level depending on scheme. A high character, high motor athlete -- Scott Kennedy/

Ooltewah (Tenn.) four-star defensive end Jacques Smith is a tweener linebacker/defensive end. Watching him this coming will should allow us to gauge where we see him fitting in at Tennessee. Smith is a very athletic prospect who wreaks havoc on the opposition.

Positional Ranking: 8

Scouting Report: A big, fast athlete, Smith has the size and strength to play defensive end, or the quickness to play linebacker. He's a disrupter on defense that moves piles when he

Frederick (Md.) Linganore four-star Zack Zwinak is regarded by as the No. 1 fullback in the country, but the Penn State pledge is also one of the best linebackers in the country and could very well end up there in Happy Valley. Zwinak is a hardnosed throwback type of player. He fits the exact profile of what has been one of the main keys to the success the Nittany Lions have enjoyed during the Joe Paterno era.

Positional Ranking: 1

Scouting Report: Zwinak runs and blocks like a bull in a china shop, he destroys whatever is in his path. He hits the hole quick and is very light on his feet for such a big back, he cuts just as well as most small backs. Once he hits the seam he has very good breakaway speed and switches the ball to the outside arm. He is a devastating lead blocker. Would like to see him run a little lower through the line. --Bob Lichtenfels/

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