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2021 Football Preview: Top 10 Linebackers
Who stands out at the LB position in 2021?
Published: 7/26/2021 11:17:01 AM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster


As we head towards a new football season in the fall of 2021, is getting fans ready by unveiling the Top 10 players at each position.  These lists feature players from all corners of the state, and from all six classification levels.  Each week, we'll publish a new list of Top 10 players.  Here's the schedule:

July 5 (Offensive Linemen)

July 12 (Defensive Linemen)

July 19 (Running Backs)

July 26 (Linebackers)

August 2 (Wide Receivers/Tight Ends)

August 9 (Defensive Backs)

August 16 (Quarterbacks)

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Linebackers to watch out for in 2021.  These selections have been made by the editorial staff at, and are listed in alphabetical order by school.  We considered a wide range of factors when making this list, including individual stats, team success, All-State or All-Conference accolades, and college football recruiting buzz.

Bowen Robinson, Blackfoot (Sr.)

Blackfoot lost a lot of talented players from their 2020 quarterfinal squad.  Second-year coach Jerod Ackley can rest easy knowing the anchor of his defense is back in 2021.  Robinson notched 68 tackles a year ago, and while that number may seem low, he also racked up 9 sacks.  Those efforts led to Robinson being selected as a 1st Team All-State Player.

Dylan Pickering, Clearwater Valley (Sr.)

At 6-0 and 200 lbs., Pickering brings good size to the linebacker position.  He did a little bit of everything last year for the Rams, as he finished with 78 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions.

Derek  Matthews, Declo (Sr.)

Matthews was a tackling machine, registering 121 total stops in 2020.  He also chipped in 1.5 sacks, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery in a strong all-around game.  Matthews is also an outstanding wrestler, and those skills translate seamlessly to the defensive side of the ball.

Caleb Frei, Grangeville (Sr.)

At the Class 2A level, most players go both ways, and Frei is no exception.  While his efforts at running back are often noted, it's actually his play at outside linebacker that is most impressive.  Frei was a 2nd Team All-State and 1st Team All-Conference selection, and he also won the 3A-1A Football Player of the Year award at the North Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame banquet.

Mason Fullmer, Highland (Jr.)

Fullmer started at outside linebacker as a sophomore last year, although at 6-1 and 205 lbs. he certainly didn't look like a sophomore.  Fullmer finished the year with 85 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.  Now entering his junior year, he is one of the unquestioned leaders of the Rams defense.

Michael Belnap, Marsh Valley (Sr.)

The 5-10, 175 lb. senior turned heads last year by rushing for over 1,000 yards from the running back position.  Not only was Belnap the bell cow on offense, but the Eagles also needed him to anchor the defense.  Belnap led the Marsh Valley defense with 73 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 sack and 1 interception.

A.J. Hill, North Fremont (Sr.)

The 6-0, 185 lb. linebacker was the anchor of a stingy North Fremont defense a season ago.  The Huskies allowed only 10.6 points per game a year ago, and Hill earned 1st Team All-State and 1st Team All-Conference honors for his efforts.

Dace Jones, Oakley (Sr.)

At 5-9 and 150 lbs., Jones isn't as big as some of the other linebackers on this list.  That didn't stop him from collecting 116 tackles, 5 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles last year as a junior.  Jones is the nephew of Hornets head coach Brennen Jones, and uses that bond to stand out both physically and mentally from the competition.

Logan Fredericksen, Rigby (Sr.)

At 6-3 and 210 lbs., many think Fredericksen is the best linebacker prospect in the state of Idaho this year.  Playing in a loaded front 7 at Rigby High last year, he finished with 43 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries.

Ryan Harris, Sugar-Salem (Sr.)

Harris flew all over the field as a junior last year, as the Diggers advanced to another state title game.  He racked up 109 tackles, including 8 for loss, and also grabbed an interception.  In the Class 3A state championship game, Harris finished with 15 tackles.


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