I recently looked at the top quarterbacks and running backs in the Inland Empire. This week, I move back to the defensive side of the ball to look at the linebackers. Like running back, the linebacker position is deep. Two dozen players made the preliminary list but I cut it down to these five.
Rodney Hardrick, Colton
Hardrick has recovered from a catastrophic knee injury and still has the speed to chase down running backs or keep up with slot receivers in pass coverage. Oregon State, New Mexico and Washington lead the list of schools that have shown an interest in the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior.
Devan Hussey, Colton
Hussey is only 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds but has proven himself to be first-class run-stopper. He earned all-league honors in his sophomore and junior years, making 124 tackles in 2009. Hussey may be undersized but he maintains a 4.3 grade point average and could go on to play in the Ivy League.
Curtis Dozier, Chaparral
Dozier was arguably the best defensive player on the field in the Pumas’ overtime win over Corona Centennial in last year’s Inland Division semifinal, making eight solo tackles and deflecting a pass that led to a game-ending interception. He finished the season with 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder enters his junior year at the core of Chaparral’s defense and with an early scholarship offer from New Mexico.
Ryan Jack, Corona Centennial
Jack stepped into the inside linebacker spot left behind by All-American Vontaze Burfict and led the Huskies to the Inland Division semifinals. The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder was credited with 145 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in his junior year, earning a spot on the All-CIF Inland Division team and a scholarship offer from San Diego State.
Robert Campbell, Norco
Campbell brings tremendous speed to the outside linebacker spot to shut down outside runs and blitz on passing downs. Like Hardrick, he has recovered from a knee injury. Norco’s defense was hit hard by graduation; the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Campbell figures to be the star of their front seven as they seek to repeat as Big VIII champions.
Top Running Backs
Top Defensive Ends
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