Top 5 AAA Linebackers in WV for 2021

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*NOTE: To help spread the love, players will be listed at only one position. So some players who might qualify as a Big Board caliber player here will be ranked at another position. The scout sheet we send to colleges has all players and all their positions. Some players have been adjusted to another position due to scheming and likelihood of change in college.

Honorable Mention

53 – Kam Shallis (Martinsburg) 2023

56 – Donovan Garrett (Huntington) 2023

58 – Elijah Edge (St. Albans) 2023

TIE – 5. Brogan Brown

Brown jumped onto our radar as sophomore and lived up well as a junior. He already holds next-level size around 6’1 220 pounds and moves well with it. Inside the tackles, few are as efficient as him. The Redskin defensive staff has always molded talent into technically sound defenders and Brown is another example of this. Speed and agility is where can he develop most but his foundations are very solid. He should definitely end up with several offers.

TIE – 5. Colton Thomas

Thomas came into his own as the center of the Wheeling Park defense in 2020. One of the shorter linebackers on the list, he makes up for it with high effort and good leverage. Of any linebacker here, he showed the best pursuit ability and capability of scrapping blocks towards the ball carrier. Size and flexibility are concerns but he has some great film regardless.

4. Tyrees Smith

Perhaps no linebacker looks better on paper than Smith. At 6’3, he already holds that length and frame that many colleges love to have. He is a raw talent that emerged as the next Highlander defensive leader in 2020. He shows sporadic signs of burst, aggression, and playmaking. Certain technical things like constantly moving downfield and playing with lower leverages need improvement but with what he already has, that is a happy exception. He should be highly recruited over the next year.

TIE- 2. Donald Brandel

Brandel is the only linebacker on this list that could also double as a type of box safety. He is tall and lanky but misleadingly strong and able to play within the box. This length and defensive back-level agility make him very attractive to the next level. He has shown to be able to tackle in space, cover tight ends and wide receivers, and do so with fluidity. Overall, a fantastic prospect with much to offer.

TIE – 2. Caiden Davis

Davis is perhaps the opposite in this regard. He is a thicker, more stout Mike backer that has tons of experience starting for the Black Eagles since being a freshman. Though his straight-line speed is not blazing, he has acceleration and agility when it counts inside the box. He is probably the most aggressive and downhill linebacker in the state and really owns the box. As with others his type, he will always need to continue developing his pass coverage ability. Regardless, a talented inside guy.

1. Mondrell Dean

Dean quickly rose through the recruitment ranks as a freshman and sophomore. Hitting a growth spurt this time last year, he shot up to around 6’3 220 pounds which is primetime size for a next-level linebacker. His utilization at multiple spots on offense and defense has helped develop his natural speed and explosion while building up his football IQ and playmaking ability. As his technique sharpens as a junior and senior, even more Division I schools will offer him. A premiere talent as a rising junior.

Keep An Eye Out

Linebacker is always a deep position group in AAA. Morgantown’s Davon Eldridge (2023) is an athletic outside backer that made an immediate impact after transferring from Trinity Christian (WV). Lincoln County’s Nolan Shimp (2022) completely owns the field for the Panthers and is a legitimate sideline to sideline player. Bridgeport’s middle defense will be anchored by a tough rising senior Landyn Reppert (2022). Greenbrier East has a sleeper edge rusher in Garrett Bennett (2022). And, Cabell Midland’s Cannon Lewis (2024) made an impact as a freshman and should continue moreso over the next three years.

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