SBLive’s Top 25 linebackers in California high school football

SBLive is taking a closer look at the best high school football players in California, position by position. Next up: linebackers.

From Carmel’s Amir Brown to Mater Dei’s David Bailey, California is loaded with high level linebackers.

The main criteria for SBLive’s Top 25 linebacker rankings are 2021 spring and fall statistics, film review, discussions with coaches and college interest. The rankings were compiled by SBLive reporter Bodie DeSilva.

MORE: TOP 20 QUARTERBACKS | TOP 25 RUNNING BACKS | TOP 30 WIDE RECEIVERS | TOP 30 OFFENSIVE LINEMEN | TOP 25 DEFENSIVE BACKS

SBLIVE’S TOP 25 LINEBACKERS IN CALIFORNIA

1. David Bailey – Mater Dei – Senior

Bailey is the lead dog of a linebacker group for the Monarchs that is as deep as any in the country. Stanford, Cal, and Oregon State are among his finalists.

2. Niuafe Tuihalamaka – Bishop Alemany – Senior

Tuihalamaka has been a mainstay on the Warriors defense since his freshman season when he made 68 tackles and grabbed two interceptions. Now in his senior season, the Notre Dame commit has totaled 26 tackles through four games and already has the looks of a college linebacker.

3. Tre Edwards – Mater Dei Catholic (San Diego) – Junior

Mater Dei Catholic’s Tre Edwards

Very few linebackers have been as productive as Edwards, now in his third season patrolling the Crusaders defense. He announced his arrival with 103 tackles and four interceptions as a freshman. Edwards has 25 tackles and two sacks for a Mater Dei Catholic team that has blown out each of their opponents this season.

4. Jalen Woods – St. John Bosco – Senior

Playing against top competition over the past three seasons, Woods has totaled 76 tackles, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception. He’s committed to UCLA.

5. Leviticus Su’a – Mater Dei – Junior

Su’a made his debut for the Monarchs as a freshman and will be the leader in that group next season. Texas is the most recent of the double digit offers that have arrived.

6. Taariq Al-Uqdah – Inglewood – Senior

Al-Uqdah does a little of everything on defense for a Inglewood team that has jumped out a to 4-0 start.

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7. Eoghan Kerry – Mater Dei – Senior

Kerry made his debut for the Monarchs during the spring season and has impressed for a defense that has only surrendered 74 points over their past eight games. He committed to Texas this past summer.

8. Jayden Virgin – Mt. Carmel – Senior

Virgin plays all over the field for Mt. Carmel but has been especially dominant at linebacker during the Sun Devil’s 5-0 start. The Boise State commit has 30 tackles, nine sacks, and an interception so far this season.

9. Justin Eklund – Folsom – Senior

Eklund has had a huge impact on defense during Folsom’s 5-0 start, collecting 21 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles so far.

10. Justin Stearns – St. Augustine – Senior

St. Augustine football

Stearns has had a great start to his final season with the Saints, making 61 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two interceptions through the first six games of the year. The six-foot-four linebacker committed to San Jose State prior to the season.

11. Jake Ripp – Los Gatos – Senior

Ripp has been a tackling machine for the Wildcats since his sophomore season. He’s made 57 already this season to help Los Gatos to a 5-0 start. He’s committed to Boise State.

12. Jacob Manu – Servite – Senior

Servite’s Jacob Manu (right)

Manu is a three-year starter on the Friars defense and continues to produce for a team looking to challenge Mater Dei and St. John Bosco in the Trinity League. Offers have come in from Army, Penn, and Dartmouth.

13. Tanner Salisbury – San Ramon Valley – Senior

Salisbury has used the early part of the season to showcase his skills on both sides of the ball. He racked up 25 tackles in a game against Central Catholic and has reeled in five touchdown catches on offense. San Diego State and Columbia are the two most recent schools to extend offers.

14. Justus Ross-Simmons – Inglewood – Senior

Ross-Simmons has made a big impact on both sides of the ball for the Sentinels after transferring in from New York prior to the season. He recently committed to Nevada.

15. Malaki Te’o – Mater Dei – Senior

Te’o collected 129 tackles during his first two seasons while playing at JSerra and has continued his strong play in the eight games he’s played for the Monarchs loaded defense. Offers came in from Hawaii and Utah State during the summer.

16. Gavin Hambrick – Apple Valley – Senior

Hambrick has been a consistent force for Sun Devils’ defense the past three seasons, racking up 115 tackles, six sacks, and an interception. He’s committed to Boise State.

17. Trey White – Eastlake – Senior

White is a big time mismatch as a pass rusher. He’s collected 32 tackles, six sacks, and a forced fumble to help lead the Titans’ defense that is allowing just over ten points per game.

18. Damonie Perkins – De La Salle – Senior

Perkins saw time as a running back as a sophomore before heading up the linebacker group in the spring season. The San Jose State commit has 16 tackles so far during his senior season.

19. Tim Thomas – Lincoln (Stockton) – Senior

Thomas made the move to Lincoln prior to the spring season and opened eyes with his performance during the shortened season. He committed to Fresno State in August after reeling in six scholarship offers.

20. Cody Stordahl – Chaparral – Senior

Stordahl has been an animal for the Pumas defense during his four varsity seasons. In 23 games he’s totaled 252 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

21. Malachi Hannah – Simi Valley – Senior

Hannah has played a large role for the Pioneers defense that is allowing 14 points per game. He’s collected 43 tackles and two sacks to help Simi Valley jump out to a 6-0 start.

22. Kalim Mikhail – Bonita – Senior

Mikhail has carried a heavy workload for the Bearcats this season, leading the team in rushing and tackles. He’s made 71 tackles and has four sacks to help Bonita start the season 5-1.

23. Logan Bowers – Garces Memorial – Senior

Bowers is averaging ten yards per carry for the Rams as a ball carrier and has made an even bigger impact on defense with 64 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and two forced fumble through the first five games of the year.

24. Amir Brown – Carmel – Senior

Brown has started for the Padres since his freshman season and has showcased himself as an impressive three-sport standout. Oregon State is one of the schools recruiting the senior.

25. Weston Port – San Juan Hills – Freshman

In only five games this fall, Port has solidified himself as one of California’s top freshman. He’s has 38 tackles and 7.5 sacks for the Stallions.

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