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August 12, 2007

The Battle for No. 1: LB

While there are some no-brainers at other positions, the No. 1 linebacker spot is one that I think we're going to debate all season long.

At this point, Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla linebacker Nigel Bradham is No. 1. However, there are others like Wichita (Kan.) East standout Arthur Brown and Shayne Hale of Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway nipping at his heels.

Rivals.com's Jeremy Crabtree breaks down this year's battle for the top spot at the linebacker position.

  • Bradham/Brown/Hale: Who is the top linebacker prospect?

    Battle for No. 1: Linebackers
    Nigel Bradham vs. Arthur Brown vs. Shayne Hale

    If there is somebody that could possibly knock Bradham from his No. 1 spot, all signs point to Brown. Brown is arguably the most heavily recruited defensive player ever in the state of Kansas. There are quite a few college coaches that believe he's the best linebacker available in this year's class.

    Brown will get plenty of opportunities for national exposure this fall because several of his games will be televised, including an early season matchup against Dodge City on ESPN U.

    Hale will also get plenty of chances to prove he's the best. Playing for one of the top high school programs in the East, he dominated as a junior. He finished last season with 105 tackles and five sacks.

    What makes him an intriguing prospect is that he could also possibly spin down and play defensive end in the future. His monster 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame could easily add some good weight. Hale has great instincts and is a very good run-stopper, so much so that you'd like to see what he can do at linebacker on the next level.

    When it comes to Bradham and his stranglehold on No. 1, it might be tough to see him move from the top spot. Others could have great seasons, but odds are he will as well. Bradham has some of the best instincts in the country at the position. He can diagnose a play and know what's going to happen before it happens. You can't coach those types of things. He also plays against top-notch talent in Florida and will be challenged every week.

    While he might not challenge for the top spot, a guy to keep your eye on is Marcus Robinson from Homestead, Fla. The soft Miami commitment is one of the most exciting players in the Southeast.

    His size and speed, combined with tenacity and quickness, make Robinson one of the most dangerous defensive players in the country. Watch for him to be a guy that could be talked about for five-star status down the road.

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