Football Recruiting: Linebackers

A position of great need in this recruiting class, UCLA has two commitments, but is looking for quite a bit more, including that really elite prospect...

While UCLA has done well overall in recruiting the last couple of years, a position it hasn't fared well in is linebacker, only getting really two highly-touted LBs in the last two years. UCLA, though, has started out pretty strong so far this recruiting year, getting commitments from two solid linebacker prospects. UCLA will probably take three minimum, and probably four total linebackers. They would definitely like to see one scholarship go to a very elite recruit.

Xavier Burgess, 6-3, 215, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant. COMMITTED. A sleeper to recruiting fans, but not to college coaches, Burgess is a player that was starting to get some strong attention before he verbally committed to UCLA in June. Having grown a couple of inches in a year and put on 20 pounds, he was fairly unknown. He's very athletic and runs very well – and could put on more weight easily. He chose UCLA over Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Cal and Illinois.

Kirby Joseph, 6-2, 220, Lake Charles (Louisiana) Washington-Marion. COMMITTED. Joseph vebally committed to UCLA in mid-August, after two years of making a concerted effort at earning a scholarship offer. Joseph actually came to UCLA's four-day camp in June, and he rode a bus for four days from Louisiana to do it. On the football field, Joseph played defensive end for his high school team as a junior, where he collected 97 tackles and 11 quarterback sacks. He will play linebacker as a senior, and many schools besides UCLA had noticed him this spring and summer at various camps, where he showed a good body and quickness. At the Nike Camp he recorded a 4.7 40 and jumped 30 inches. He chose UCLA over LSU, Alabama, Mississippi State and Tulane. He's good academically.

Zach Latimer, 6-2, 220, Aurora (Colo.) Gateway. Latimer is considered one of the best, if not the best, linebacker prospect in the west. Max Emfinger has him ranked as the #1 weakside linebacker prospect in the country. He led the state of Colorado in sacks last year. His high school coach said he'd actually like to use him as an option quarterback, a testament to his skills and athleticism. Latimer is also a very good point guard on the basketball court; if he played basketball year-round, he'd be among the top 15 or so point guards on the west coast. Latimer came to Los Angeles in late July for a AAU basketball tournament and loved the area and the weather. As a result, he said that UCLA was now his leader. He's also considering Texas, Colorado, Miami, and Purdue.

Aaron Harris, 5-11, 224, 4.6, Mesquite (Tex.) North Mesquite. Harris is considered one of the best prospects in Texas and in the country. He visited UCLA unofficially this summer. UCLA is on his list, along with Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State, Miami and Florida. UCLA would have to be considered a longshot.

Justin London, 6-1, 223, 4.6, Roanoke (Virg.) Northside. The kid who came out to the San Diego Nike Camp to get noticed by UCLA, London is one of the best in the east. He visited UCLA's campus during spring practice. On tape, he looks quick and has a nose for the ball. London's had two good games so far for his senior season. His favorite schools are Tennessee, Virginia Tech, UCLA, North Carolina State and Virginia. UCLA will probably move up the list if London officially visits, which he wants to do, and UCLA offers. Latest Recruiting Update

Wesley Walker, 6-2, 220, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. A somewhat overlooked sleeper by recruiting services, college coaches, though, know about Walker. He has good size and good quickness. UCLA has been recruiting him, as well as the Pac-10, while he likes UCLA quite a bit.

Alex Ligon, 6-3, 225, 4.6, Torrance (Calif.) North. One of the newest names on the scene, Ligon impressed at the San Diego Nike camp with some great numbers – a 4.68 40, 4.49 shuttle, 33-inch vertical and 21 reps on the bench. Considered a raw prospect, he might end up being the best linebacker in the Los Angeles area by the end of next season.

Marcus Smith, 6-5, 210, San Diego (Calif.) Mission Bay. Big and athletic, Smith has some of the best potential of anyone on this list. He's also a decent wing on the basketball court. If he continues to get bigger, which most scouts believe he will, combine that with his quickness and athleticism, and you could have a big-time player. Smith is looking at the Pac-10, as well as others. He's definitely on UCLA's to-watch list.

Ricky Miller, 6-3, 225, 4.65, Tustin (Calif.) High. Miller is playing tailback primarily in high school, where he looked good in his first game of the season. He has very good speed for his size, running a 4.65 in the 40 at the Nike Camp. He also jumped 28 inches in the vertical. USC leads, while UCLA is close. A recruiting update is forthcoming.

Chad Slapnicka, 6-2, 228, 4.7, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Slapnicka has some pretty compelling elements going for him. He has good size and good instincts on the field. Off the field, he's from Matt Ware's alma mater and he has a 3.97 GPA and scored a 1330 on his SAT. His father went to Oregon, and the Ducks and UCLA alternate as his leader. Currently, Oregon leads since they seem to be recruiting him the hardest. UCLA has yet to offer, but if he has a great senior season and UCLA offers, UCLA could be tough to beat. Washington and Cal are also involved.

Ed Jackson, 6-2, 210, 4.6, La Marque (Tex.) High. Jackson had a good showing at the Nike Texas A&M Camp, showing the quickness and speed needed to play OLB on the next level. He has said he'd like to go away to school and recently said UCLA was his #1 choice. He's on UCLA's to-watch list. Also likes Miami, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M.

Scott White, 6-2, 225, 4.6, San Diego (Calif.) Mission Bay. Probably the best linebacker in San Diego, White had a great junior year, recording 100 tackles and eight sacks, while also doing duty at fullback. UCLA was his favorite growing up, but he now likes USC, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and others.

Keevin Hardiman, 6-0, 200, 4.7, Lakewood (Calif.) High. Hardiman is fairly unknown but on many to-watch lists, including UCLA's. He had ten sacks last year as a junior, and could end up as either a linebacker or possibly a safety. He's visited UCLA unofficially and has said that UCLA is his favorite at this point. He also likes ASU and Oregon State.

Ross Wolter, 6-3, 220, Elsinore (Calif.) High. Wolter attended UCLA's one-day camp and was physically impressive. He's definitely someone UCLA is watching this season.

Eric Beegun, 6-3, 230, Pacific Palisades (Calif.) Palisades. A big kid who also plays tight end, Beegun is pretty fast for his size, which has college coaches taking notice. He has excellent grades, and is looking at the Ivies, as well as Pac-10 schools. He's on UCLA's to-watch list.

Kyle Goodman, 6-1, 220, 4.7, Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan. Goodman recorded 12 sacks as a junior and is considered one of the best prospects in central California. He camped at Stanford and the Cardinal lead for him, over UCLA, Oregon and Fresno State. Stanford and UCLA have yet to offer.

John Dillon, 6-3, 200, 4.6, San Pedro (Calif.) High. A long-time Bruin fan, coming from a Bruin-fan family, Dillon is a raw prospect with good size and athleticism. If UCLA offered, he'd jump. Also considering Arizona State, Oregon and USC.

Micah Woods, 6-1, 242, 4.6, Houston (Tex.) Sterling. A strong, physical linebacker prospect, UCLA is recruiting, and Woods likes UCLA along with LSU, Tennessee, Tulsa, and Mississippi State.

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