California 2009 Preseason Rankings: LBs

The nation's premier middle linebacker, Corona Centennial's Vontaze Burfict, calls the Golden State home and he heads the list of the top linebackers in the state...

Few of the linebacker classes to come out of the West have been as good as this one, with the premier middle backer (Burfict) and strongside backer (Te'o)  in the country both calling the West home.

Weakside Linebackers

1. Marquis Simmons, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez- USC
The final, and arguably the best, of the Simmons' family who have been a linebacker staple in California

2. Michael Clay, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep
His speed and athleticism outside enables him to play well in space and excel in coverage

3. John Michael Davis, Los Flores (Calif.) Tesoro- Boise State
Another gifted athlete who could play any of the linebacker spots.

4. Trevor Erno, Lakewood (Calif.)- Arizona
The always-tough Moore League's top defensive prospect is a tackling machine.

5. Robert Franco, San Pedro (Calif.)
A big hitter who loves to play physically through the whistle, could also be a fullback in college.

6. Daniel Cox, Sacramento (Calif.) Christian Brothers
Has played mostly with his hand down in high school but will get a chance to play linebacker this fall, where he's projected to play in college.

7. Nick Bruce, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft
Like Franco, this City Section product is always around the action and is usually ending the plays.

8. Matthew Bahar, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester
At his best playing defensive end making tackles in the backfield, size and athleticism will put him at linebacker.

Other Weakside Linebackers to Watch (in alphabetical order):
A.J. Ropati, Carson (Calif.)
Ace Ward, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Anthony Whitlow, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Benson Mayowa, Inglewood (Calif.)
Brant Botill, Corcoran (Calif.)
J.R. Carr, Torrance (Calif.) South
Jared Williams, Los Angeles (Calif.) Washington
Jonathan Holmes, Los Angeles (Calif.) Washington
Lawrence Larivee, Chino Hills (Calif.) Ayala
Justin Ruffino, Napa (Calif.)
Michael Ruffino, Napa (Calif.)
Nate Ware, Visalia (Calif.) El Diamante
Noah Lyche, Camarillo (Calif.)
Wesley Bates, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft

Middle Linebackers

1. Vontaze Burfict, Corona (Calif.) Centennial- USC
Big, physical, strong, nasty.  A prototypical middle backer.

2. Todd Golper, Arcadia (Calif.)- UCLA
May be one of the smartest linebackers around, a true leader on the field who tackles everything.

3. Eric Martin, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Was the top linebacker at the Los Angeles UnderArmour/ Combine.

4. Steven Fanua, Milpitas (Calif.)
Few defenders in the West have racked up the kind of tackles that Fanua has the last few years.

5. Sam Foster, Esparto (Calif.)
His performance at the UnderArmour/ Combine in Oakland was one of the best.

Other Middle Linebackers to Watch (in alphabetical order):
Anthony Elliott, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West
Bryan Townsend, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)
Daniel Burgess, Napa (Calif.)
Daniel Garcia, Oxnard (Calif.) Santa Clara
Dylan Reda, San Clemente (Calif.)
Isaac Foster, Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger
Jacob Driver, Carlsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon- San Diego State
Marquis Andrews, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw
Patrick Jarin, Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake- Army

Strongside Linebackers

1. Travis Brown, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West
The son of the Fresno State defensive coordinator, he's a football junkie who's been a rock for the Eagles defense.

2. Jordan Barrett, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Has been overshadowed by teammates the past few years but now it's his defense.

3. Isaiah Bowens, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat- UCLA
Loves to hit and "end plays".  May miss part of the season with a broken leg.

4. Kevin Greene, San Francisco (Calif.) Sacred Heart Cathederal
Few players have the upside of this longtime basketball player who's only entering his second year of football.

5. Maurice Cox, Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North
Good sideline-to-sideline player who packs a wallop.

6. Nat Harrison, Fresno (Calif) Edison
Harrison is an intriguing prospect since he plays primarily tight end and defensive end, but likely will end up playing strongside in college.

7. Garrison Goodman, Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley
At a school known for its offense, Goodman spearheads the defending CIF-NCS champion defense.

Other Strongside Linebackers to Watch (in alphabetical order):
Ben Letcher, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Bryson Lloyd, Santa Barbara (Calif.)
Devon Rosa, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft
Eric Dairy, Compton (Calif.)
James Randall, Compton (Calif.)
Khalil Bass, Encino (Calif.) Crespi
Lange Nelson, Palos Verdes (Calif.) Peninsula
Michael Santini, San Jose (Calif.) Leland
Mike Arakelian, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran
Ryan Macken, Truckee (Calif.)
Sekope Kaufusi, Woodside (Calif.)

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