FB Recruiting: Linebackers

There isn't the elite talent of a couple of years ago, but there is depth at linebacker in this year's recruiting class. How many backers will UCLA take?

UCLA stocked up on linebackers a year ago when it was an extreme position of need. This next year, with limited overall scholarships, they'll be pretty selective, taking possibly two backers. It's actually a pretty decent crop this year; it might not have the elite talent at the top like a couple of years ago, but it's definitely deeper in talent than it was last year on the west coast.

Michael Okwo, 6-0, 205, Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Mira Costa. Quick, athletic and with great instinct, Okwo is one of UCLA's top targets for linebackers. UCLA leads Stanford at this point.

Phillip Rauscher, 6-3, 240, Carlsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon. A very big kid who was injured for a lot of his junior year. He is probably leaning to UCLA and waiting on an offer. He could get one – and more than likely as a defensive end.

Thomas Williams, 6-2, 225, Vacaville (Calif.) High. Somewhat of a sleeper to fans, but coaches know Williams well and consider him one of the best in the west. UCLA has some good "ins" at the high school, being Joe Hunter's alma mater.

Aaron Whittington, 6-3, 180, St. Louis (Missouri) Hazeltine East. He might get listed as a defensive end since that where he played last season, but he probably projects as a linebacker on the next level. Very quick, with great pass rushing talent. He had said UCLA was his favorite, earlier, and took an unofficial visit to campus when he came out for the L.A. Nike Camp to make sure UCLA noticed him.

Drean Rucker, 6-1, 230, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Canyon Springs. He was probably the best linebacker at the L.A. Nike Camp. He didn't mention UCLA, but the Bruins will try hard with him.

Demario Pleasant, 6-3, 210, Lewisville (Tex.) High. One of the best prospects in the country, UCLA is trying to get in on him.

Brandon Jackson, 6-3, 225, Lake Charles (Louisiana) Washington-Marion. Considered one of the best in the south and possibly the country. He lists UCLA among a long list. He's friends with incoming freshman lienbacker Kirby Joseph, being from the same high school.

Lance Broadus, 6-3, 220, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. One of the best in L.A., but academics will be a problem for him.

Chris Purtz, 6-2, 220, Clovis (Calif.) West. A very physical player, Purtz is getting attention from all of the Pac-10. UCLA and USC could end up being the finalists for him. He said in an earlier interview on BRO he might want to get the decision with over quickly.

Gary Lovely, 6-3, 200, Gunderson (Calif.) High. Very good size and very athletic, Lovely could end up being one of the best in the west and get national attention. UCLA is among his favorites. He goes to the alma mater of UCLA running back Jason Harrison.

Andy Darkins, 6-2, 228, Lake Oswego (Ore.) High. Could be one of the "dark" horses on the west coast among linebackers, Darkins also is an excellent student and could bypass west coast schools for the Ivy League. He said, among west coasters, UCLA is among the favorites.

Others To Watch:

Alain Karatepeyan, 6-1, 215, Chatsworth (Calif.) High
Robert Killebrew, 6-2, 205, Spring (Tex.) Klein
Josh Cobb, 6-3, 215, El Paso (Tex.) Eastwood
Brett Martin, 6-0, 212, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Kevin Herrin, 6-2, 180, La Canada (Calif.)) St. Francis
Randy Lang, 6-0, 220, San Fernando (Calif.) High
Lee Martin, 6-1, 205, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Ammon Wolfley, 6-1, 205, Peoria (Ariz.) High
Joe Jiannoni, 6-0, 200, La Quinta (Calif.) High
Earnest Jones, 6-3, 210, Henderson (North Carolina) Southern Vance
Eric Clark, 6-4, 210, Oceanside (Calif.) El Camino
Paul Williams, 6-2, 215, Tyler (Tex.) Lee
Gabe Smith, 6-2, 235, Eugene (Ore.) Sheldon
Scott Derry, 6-3, 230, Pearland (Tex.) High
Fred McNeill, 6-1, 215, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola
Jason Turner, 6-2, 210, La Canada (Calif.) St. Francis
Juan Silva, 6-1, 225, Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak
Garrett Tremblay, 6-2, 225, Palm Desert (Calif.) High
Kasey Sitchler, 6-1, 210, Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Mira Costa
Jonathan Turner, 6-3, 242, Corona (Calif.) High
Ralph Pineda, 6-2, 205, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral
Jerome Johnson, 6-1, 230, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey
Reyshawn Bobo, 6-3, 205, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Canyon Springs
Brian Banks, 6-3, 225, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Cody Kase, 6-1, 215, Newhall (Calif.) Hart
Eric Schlegel, 6-2, 250, Capistrano Valley (Calif.) Christian
Travis Howell, 6-3, 225, Los Gatos (Calif.) High

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