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July 12, 2012

Underclassmen LBs: Akem outshines the rest

MORE: Underclassmen Challenge information

DeSOTO, Texas -- Rivals.com analyst Josh Helmholdt ranks the top linebackers from Sunday's Rivals Underclassmen Challenge.

1. Gyasi Akem, Broken Arrow (Okla.): When talking about projecting to the college level, Akem jumped out from both a size and performance standpoint as the top linebacker at the event. However, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder holds just one offer at this stage because he lost his sophomore season to a torn ACL. Akem showed no lingering effects from the injury and was moving around well all day. He has the ability to play in space and is physical with long arms and a solid build.

2. Cameron Hampton, Dallas (Texas) Carter: Hampton came into the event with the most hype among the linebacker prospects in attendance. He backed up his seven scholarship offers with a solid outing at the event. Although Hampton is a little undersized for the position now, he could grow into a bigger linebacker with two more years of high school ahead of him. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder was probably the most athletic linebacker of the bunch and stood out in coverage drills against running backs.

3. Anthony Rhone, Texarkana (Texas) Texas High: Rhone earned MVP honors for the linebacker position during a day in which he saw marked improvement from the beginning of the camp until the end. The coaches running the event said he was one of the most coachable players in attendance and picked up their instruction immediately. At 6-foot and 198 pounds, Rhone looks more like a strong safety, but he says that every school recruiting him at this stage is doing so for linebacker.

4. Greg Miclisse, Palm Bay (Fla.) Bayside: The 6-foot-1, 233-pound Miclisse was probably the thickest of the linebackers in attendance Sunday, but he also showed he can get out and move at that size. There is a little bad weight on his frame, but as he gets older and trims out his frame he should look like the prototypical middle linebacker. Miclisse is a good athlete for his size, holding his own in one-on-one coverage drills against running backs and tight ends.

5. R.J. Williams, Hooks (Texas): The only class of 2015 prospect on the list, Williams did show his age in some of the technical aspects of the position, but he also showed a lot of potential. Williams is built with a thick lower body and he has the frame to be strong in stopping the run. As he gets older and into the weight room more, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Williams should be able to drop his 40 time and play a little more free and agile. However, he already has showed competency in coverage.

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