Dick Butkus wouldn't believe it.
"There were six linebackers last year who were better than the No. 1 linebacker in the class of 2012," said recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network.
"It's a good year but not an overwhelming year for talent, a weak year for linebackers and tight ends but an average to above-average year for the other positions," Lemming said.
Butkus, the legendary linebacker who practically invented the position at Chicago Vocational, Illinois and the Chicago Bears and the man whose name is on the trophy awarded annually to the best linebacker in college football, would find it hard to imagine that the word "weak" is being used to describe this year's crop of linebackers.
Lemming's three picks are Wisconsin-bound Vince Biegel of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., who is rated as the No. 34 player in the nation--and the first linebacker listed among the top 100; USC-bound Scott Starr of Norco, Calif., who is No. 60; and Florida-bound Antonio Morrison of Bolingbrook, who is No. 69.
Other services single out Kwon Alexander of Oxford, Ala., USC-bound Jabari Ruffin of Downey, Calif., Stanford-bound Noor Davis of The Villages, Fla., and Josh Clemons of Valdosta, Ga. Alabama-bound Dillon Lee of Buford, Ga., Michigan-bound James Ross of St. Mary's, Mich., LSU-bound Trey Granier of Thibodaux, La., and Rutgers-bound Quanzell Lambert of Creek, N.J.
"There are a lot of All-America teams and a lot of scouting services and 3,000 kids to pick from. We only choose the top 100," Lemming said. "We would be charged with collusion if our picks were close to being the same. There are a lot of opinions, no set way to separate one prospect from another.
"Football isn't like basketball. It isn't as easy to predict if a kid will develop into a star. It's about size, maturity, productivity, speed, growth and potential. Few kids are ready-made prospects. They have to develop. Sometimes it takes until their senior year in college or a year or two in the NFL to reach their full potential."
And then you have to add politics to the equation.
"Some colleges actually call the ratings people to talk up their classes so their school will be rated higher. They want high ratings. Some can save their jobs with a good recruiting class," Lemming said.
The only top 25 player who didn't commit on national signing day was wide receiver Stefon Diggs of Olney, Maryland. He is considering Ohio State, Florida, Maryland, Arkansas and California. He will make a decision on Feb. 10, after visiting Maryland.
Florida landed four players among the top 25--Morrison, tight end Kent Taylor, offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, kicker Austin Hardin. USC had three players, Alabama and Florida State two each.
Here are the nation's Super 25 players:
Land O'Lakes, Fla.
Pleasant Grove, Calif.
Lakewood Lakes, Wash.
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.