Centex linebacker talent level is up in '09

The talent and depth at the linebacker position in Central Texas is up tremendously in 2009. The names and the repuations in this group are big as many of these players have been making plays since they were freshmen.

One of the biggest questions on the recruiting front in the state of Texas over the last few years has been the seemingly decline of the quality of linebackers that the state has produced.

Some say it is due to the use of the spread offense becoming common place that many linebacker are now being utilized elsewhere. The argument has even been used that some linebacker prospects are taking to the basketball court more than they are the football field.

Whatever the case may, perhaps 2009 is the year in which the linebacker is beginning to be an elite position in the state once again with the likes of Tariq Allen, Austin Moss, and Tom Wort giving the Lone Star State some heavy hitters.

Central Texas has some fine linebacker prospects in this cycle and while they have not piled up offers as of yet, they will make fine additions wherever they land.

The best of the bunch might just be Austin LBJ's Kerry Hyder. A three star prospect and currently ranked as the No. 11 strong side linebacker in the nation according to Scout.com, Hyder helped lead the Jaguars to the Class 4A, Division I state quarterfinals last season and played brilliantly at linebacker. He shows a great ability to fly into the backfield off of the edge and is great at dropping into pass coverage. When it comes to recruiting, Hyder has garnered the label of being a "tweener" in some circles. While he does have good size at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds with 4.6 speed, it's a matter of whether he can attain enough speed to play linebacker at the college level or whether genetically his body can develop enough for him to spin down to defensive end. He has already picked up an offer from Minnesota and more are sure to follow because Hyder can flat out make plays. He is very instinctive and does as good of a job at anyone in the state at reading his keys and getting to the football as is evident by his 156 tackles during an all-State junior year.

If Hyder is not the best linebacker in the area, then the honor would most certainly go to Copperas Cove's Tanner Brock. Very few linebackers in the state of Texas can match Brock's production. Brock tallied more than 200 tackles in 15 games for the Bulldawgs, who reached the Class 4A, Division I championship game for the second straight season. Brock does not have elite speed, but he knows how to get to the football and plays fast while driving his 6-foot-3, 220 pound frame through ball carriers. Brock has received the most interest among the Centex linebacker contingent thus far but the front runner for his services might be TCU where is brother Logan Brock is a tight end.

There are a few playmakers in the area that have been two of the most productive linebackers in the state for a few years and have positioned themselves to be considered among the top prospects in the state.

Liberty Hill's Cody Lattimore has been the leader of the Panthers' defense since he was a freshman and this past season, Lattimore was once again one of the area's best players in helping Liberty Hill to their second straight Class 3A state championship. At 6-foot and about 200-pounds, Lattimore's vitals do not jump off of the page, but he has a tremendous nose for the ball.

The same can be said for Round Rock Westwood's Chase Griesbach, who is almost identical in body type to Lattimore though he posses more speed and quickness. Greisbach was an all-State selection as a sophomore for Coach Anthony Wood and will enter his senior season as the leader of the Warriors defense.

There are several sleepers in Central Texas to keep tabs on this summer including Cedar Park's Tanner Estes, Bryan's Curtis Cook, Pflugerville Connally's Thomas Curry, Marble Falls' Thor Woerner, Belton's Kyle Voss, and A&M Consolidated's Brandon Strain.

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