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November 7, 2012
They are the best of the best. The players wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond.
Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2014 class and is unveiling them this week. Ten prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time and we will profile two each day. One of today's five-stars is Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty CountyAttributes: 6-3/235, 4.7 40 Top Schools: Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, USC Scouting Report: At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, McMillan already has ideal size for a middle linebacker, but what has separated him from the rest of the pack is willingness to accept coaching and work on his deficiencies. During the summer circuit, there were times when McMillan showed his youth, but rarely did he make the same mistake twice. He's continued that into his junior season at Liberty, where he's emerged as the leader of the defense. With his size and speed some have wondered whether he could play on the outside or as a drop-end, but there's no question that McMillan will is an elite prospect in the middle. His instincts and playmaking ability force teams to try to run to the outside, but he rarely gets caught out of position, even though he's the focal point of every opponent he faces. When matched up against tight ends he has the speed to cover in space. That is of course if he doesn't succeed at jamming at the line of scrimmage, a regular occurrence.
Analyst's Take: "McMillan is the type of player who can come in and change an entire defense, not just with his athleticism and playmaking ability but with his intensity and passion for the game. There are some aspects of his game that still need some refining, like his coverage skills, but for a guy of his size who thrives in the middle of the field, he's more than adequate. His also does a nice job of batting down balls at the line of scrimmage when he can't get to the quarterback on the blitz and is versatile enough to move out and get around the edge quickly. He's built to stop the run first and foremost, and is great at filling the hole and exploding to make big hits against running backs. -- Woody Wommack, Southeast Analyst, Rivals.com
Why he's a five-star: "McMillan is a huge linebacker who is excellent in space, has terrific instincts regarding which lane to fill and what angle to take, and he has the length and quickness to cover a lot of ground. McMillan is a rare, jumbo-sized backer with quick-twitch ability as well as the ability to drop in coverage and flip his hips. He is also a very good pass rusher, sheds blockers well to make plays in the running and passing game, and creates turnovers consistently." -- Mike Farrell, National Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com
His coach says: "He's obviously got the size and the attributes you look for, but on the field he backs up his actions. He's a leader and a guy I can really count on. In the weight room, he's the first one to arrive and the last one to leave and he's a consummate team player. He has all the great leadership qualities that a top player should possess. As the middle linebacker, he gets all the signals, he's responsible for getting guys in place. He's a physical kid and he's come a long way in the last year. He makes the proper reads, which has allowed him to get to the ball faster. His physicality is his best attribute, but right there is his ability to quarterback the defense. He's also very coachable and he's hungry to learn more about the game. He knows that he doesn't know everything and he's become a student of the game." -- Kirk Warner, Liberty County head coach
Odds and ends: In addition to his spot as the leader of the team's defense, McMillan also serves as the team's short yardage back ? As a sophomore, had 97 tackles (20 for loss), five forced fumbles, one sack and one interception ? During his freshman season, had 53 tackles (five for loss) and two sacks ? McMillan's coach, Kirk Warner, played tight end at the University of Georgia from 1986-89.
NFL player comparison: Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers