A look at the '05 Linebacker Class

How did this year's linebackers stack up?<br><br> To find out where we graded Ole Miss' 2005 Linehacker Class, click here.

Linebackers: A-

This is the position where the Rebels helped themselves out the most.

Ole Miss has a total of four scholarship linebackers returning next season. They are Garry Pack, Patrick Willis, Brandon Thomas, and Marquis McBeath. The good news is that all four are underclassmen, but the bad news is that there are simply not enough bodies to make it through the rugged SEC schedule unless they added some new blood to the mix.
Kelvin Robinson will probably move from strong safety to linebacker in the Spring. T
his is why Ole Miss went heavy on the linebacker core for the 2005 class, as they signed 6 natural linebackers and four more high school defensive backs (Jabarre Mitchell, Tyson Andrus, Gary Riggs, and Michael Hicks) who all have the frame to end up at linebacker if needed.

Quentin Taylor, out of Apopka (FL) was the star for the linebacker class and one of the top three rated players the Rebels signed this year. He is a sideline to sideline player that is very physical. He reminds some of Ole Miss' Gary Pack.

Dustin Forston is another player that was signed that Coach Orgeron had in mind to make an immediate impact for next season. Forston played defensive end his senior year because he was so quick off the edge and the he presented a difficult match-up for any tackle, but expect him to move to outside linebacker at Ole Miss. Dustin has that "game speed" that coach Orgeron always alludes to. Look for big things out of Forston and expect them soon.

In fact, Dustin, Quentin, and Robert Russell will all be expected to come in and make an immediate contribution next season. Russell is a true inside linebacker from New Orleans who is a sure tackles. Robert has very strong hands and a motor that never stops.

Dustin Forston's teammate, Leron King, also played on the edge in high school and will most likely end up at outside linebacker on the next level.

Arguable Louisiana's top linebacker prospect, Rogers Loche, committed to the Rebels early and never wavered. Rogers is a true inside linebacker and has a chance to provide an immediate boost for next year squad.

And lastly, Wallace Bates is an athletic linebacker out of California who signed with Oregon State last year but failed to qualify. He has the speed and quickness that you look for on the SEC level. He is another sideline to sideline player who has a chance to make an impact next year if needed.


Wallace Bates (LB, Woodland Hills, CA) - Signed with Oregon State in Class of 2004, but did not enroll ... Did not participate in football in 2004 ... Will have five years of eligibility to play four ... Picked up All-City first team honors by the Daily News while playing outside linebacker at Taft High ... Selected All-Region by SuperPrep Magazine following his senior season... Was credited with 131 tackles, including three QB sacks, and also had two pass interceptions during senior season ... As a junior, was credited with 102 tackles, including two QB sacks, and also had two pass interceptions ... Helped lead team to 13-1 record ... Earned two letters in football ... Coached in high school by Troy Star ... Also ran track ... PERSONAL: Son of Wallace and Debra Bates ... Full name is Wallace L. Bates III ... Born: April 10, 1986.

Comments from Ed Orgeron

"When Wallace gets his academic issues settled, he will have an opportunity to be a very good college linebacker. He's got all the tools necessary. Like all freshmen, he will have to hit the weight room hard and develop himself physically and mentally, but the foundation for good things is obvious."

Dustin Forston

Dustin Forston (LB, Miami, FL) - 1st Team All-State selection who also made 1st Team All-Dade County ... Rated as No. 80 overall player in State of Florida by Scout.com ... Led the state his junior year in QB sacks and was Defensive Most Valuable Player two years in a row ... As a senior, had 87 tackles, including 14 QB sacks ... Junior year saw him credited with 56 tackles, including 21 QB sacks ... Earned four letters in football ... Coached in high school by Roland Smith ... PERSONAL: Son of Alex Forston and Pearline Simmons ... Born: April 13, 1987.

Comments from Roland Smith

"You can expect Dustin to bring a lot of energy and excitement to the games. His speed off of the edge is his biggest thing. He can run real fast, really fast. He is a sideline to sideline type of player," said Northwestern Coach Roland Smith. "We played him at defensive end because he presented so many match up problems for the opposition. He plays smart and is just so athletically gifted. Ole Miss is getting themselves a great one."

Comments from Ed Orgeron

"Dustin Forston is a steal out of Miami. I would have recruited him to any school I've been at. He's really good. I expect Forston to play immediately and to learn the linebacker slot quickly. He's just a football player."

Leron King

Leron King (LB, Miami, FL) - 1st Team All-Dade County selection ... Was voted Northwestern's Most Athletic ... Was credited with 79 tackles and caused two fumbles ... Was second in state of Florida in QB sacks junior year with 18 ... Also had nine QB sacks as a senior ... Earned two letters in football ... Coached in high school by Roland Smith ... Also earned three letters in wrestling and three in track ... Had 14-1 record in wrestling ... Was second in Dade County in the shot with a throw of 52 feet, six inches ... PERSONAL: Son of Joyce King ... Born: December 15, 1985.

Comments from Roland Smith

LeRon performs up to his ability no matter who he plays. He does not play up or down to the level of competition. He brings his 'A' game every game, every practice," said Northwestern Coach Roland Smith. "That is what I like most about LeRon. We put him at DE because he was just too quick and fast for them to block. He has such an explosive first step. He plays with an attitude too. When he comes in for the hit, it is a pop, not this wrestle you down tackle like we see so often today. And he loves the weight room, just loves the game. I think Ole Miss wants to put him at outside linebacker. If he does move to linebacker, he will have to work on his pass coverages and taking the proper reads. If they keep him at defensive end, he knows it all already."

Comments from Ed Orgeron

"LeRon King can play LB or DE. We had a connection with his coach who I coached at Miami. I trust his evaluation and believe he and Dustin Fortson will be excellent additions to our team. The transition from putting his hand on the ground to linebacker will take some time, but he is athletic enough to do it."

Rogers Loche

Rogers Loche (LB, Bastrop, LA) - Three-time All-State and All-District selection ... Was named Class 4A Most Valuable Player on Defense ... Rated No. 18 overall player in Louisiana ... Named "Best of Rest" by New Orleans Times-Picayune ... Selected to Top 24 team by Baton Rouge Advocate ... Named to SuperPrep Southwest Team and was rated No. 20 on Louisiana Top 40 list ... Was preseason All-Region pick of PrepStar magazine ... Ranked No. 72 on Mobile Register Super Southeast 120 list ... As a senior, was credited with 119 tackles, including 10 QB sacks, and 16 tackles for loss ... Also recovered four fumbles and intercepted two passes ... As a junior, had 110 tackles, including nine QB sacks, as well as four pass interceptions ... Earned three letters in football as a linebacker and tight end ... Coached in high school by Brad Bradshaw ... Also lettered twice in power lifting ... Rated second two years in a row in power lifting ... PERSONAL: Son of Donna Thaxton and Rogers Loche Jr. ... Full name is Rogers Williams Loche III ... Born: March 4, 1987.

Comments from Brad Bradshaw

"Rogers is very strong and flexible and he moves very well sideline-to-sideline. He can cover the width of the field very well," said Bastrop Coach Nick Bradshaw. "He is one of the top five players I have ever coached. He is a hard worker, a great person and he will give you no problems. He grew up in a working family and knows the value of effort and working hard. He is definitely a leader by example. Rogers is not a real vocal kid, but he's definitely a leader. He's extremely tough and will strike you. Hitting is certainly not a problem with him. I'll give you an example of his toughness. He played most of his junior year with a very badly damaged shoulder that we didn't know about - he wouldn't tell us. In the offseason, he had extensive surgery and was out of football for seven months - completely out. No lifting, nothing. He came back in August of his senior year and played all year injury-free. He was outstanding even though he had not regained all his strength yet. He's just now regaining the physical form he had as a junior, but he still managed nearly 120 tackles his senior season. He will need to keep working on his straight-ahead speed, but I think he'll be a good one at Ole Miss."

Comments from Ed Orgeron

"We helped ourselves at linebacker with this recruiting class. The returning team is very thin so we signed a bunch of LBs and potential LBs. We think three of them will have to help immediately. Rogers is a kid who has that opportunity to help in a hurry. We like what we have seen of him."

Robert Russell

Robert Russell (LB, New Orleans, LA) - First team All-State selection of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association who was also All-District and All-Metro ... Voted Athlete of the Year in West Bank, Metro Player of the Year, and District MVP ... Named to Times-Picayune Top 20 team and was rated by SuperPrep as the No. 25 overall player in Louisiana ... Was credited with 168 tackles, including 119 solo stops ... Also returned one pass interception for a 54-yard score ... Had 11 QB sacks ... Earned four letters in football ... Coached in high school by Derek Lamothe ... Also earned two letters in track ... Was first in district in discus ... National Honor Roll ... Principal's Honor Roll ... PERSONAL: Son of Mike Anderson and Desires Anderson ... Full name is Robert L. Russell ... Born: September 13, 1987.

Comments from Derek Lamothe

"Robert is a tenacious hitter," said L.B. Landry Coach Derek LaMothe. "He's a fierce competitor and understands the game. He will put a hat on you. He's the kind of kid coaches love coaching. He gives 110 percent in football and 110 percent in the classroom. When he received his workout packet from Ole Miss, he told me he was going to learn it to know what to do and he was going to make sure all the others (signees) knew theirs too. That's the kind of player and leaders he is."

Comments from Ed Orgeron

"Robert is like a nosetackle playing Mike linebacker. Big hands, good hips, runs well, tough. I went to his home visit and he was working out. I went to watch him and they were working out in the swamps of Louisiana. I was really impressed with him watching him work out. He knows the value of hard work."

Quentin Taylor

Quentin Taylor (LB, Orlando, FL) - 1st Team All-State selection ... Was rated No. 94 on South Hot 100 list by Scout.com ... Ranked No. 47 overall in Florida by The Orlando Sentinel on its Top 100 list ... Three year starter at fullback ... As a senior, rushed for 550 yards and scored nine touchdown while playing offense in only five games ... Averaged eight yards per carry ... In nine games on defense, had 85 tackles, including four QB sacks ... Had three pass interceptions junior season ... Helped lead Class 6A Apopka High to 9-2 record senior season, losing in regional finals to Edgewater ... Earned three letters in football ... Coached in high school by T. Y. Ensor ... PERSONAL: Grandson of Arthur and Dorthy Taylor ... Son of Michael Davis ... Stepson of Keita Ross ... Born: February 21, 1987.

Comments from T. Y. Ensor

"Taylor is a very talented and athletic player who has been a three-year starter for us," said Apopka Senior Coach Ty Ensor. "You tell him what to do and the first time he does it. If there is a problem, he fixes it. He blocks as well and sheds blocks as well as anyone I've ever been around. He knows how to use his hands to shed blocks. He has those instincts you want, and he can gain ground quickly. He's a smart football player with a bright future."

Comments from Ed Orgeron

"I love this kid. We had to compete really hard at the end to get him away from several schools. I think he will be a tremendous player for us. Quentin reminds me of the linebackers we had at USC. He can run and he's an exciting football player. He's the quality LB I am used to having on the field at places like USC and Miami."

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