Alabama. UCLA. Florida. Texas A&M. USC. LSU. That's not the 2014 preseason top 25 -- that's a just a small look at Zach Whitley's impressive offer list.
Considering the fact that Whitley is rated among the top five players at his position this year, it is no surprise that the 6'2, 223-pound inside linebacker is so widely sought after. His number five linebacker ranking on the 247sports composite trails only consensus five-star Raekwon McMillan, Tre' Williams, Nyles Morgan and Kain Daub.
According to the 247sports composite, Whitley is also a top 15 player in the state of Texas, and a top 100 player in the class of 2014, but that last figure doesn't tell the whole story. Interestingly enough, despite that top 100 ranking, there is some wide variance in terms of where Whitley falls in comparison to other players in his class -- ESPN has Whitley at 189th in their ESPN300, while Rivals has him a 105 spots higher at 84th, and 247sports 79 spots higher at 110.
Wescott Eberts, Texas Recruiting Analyst: He does have excellent size for the position with a frame that will eventually hold close to 240 pounds, which means that he could grow into an edge, rush type of player for Alabama in their 3-4 defense.
A hard-hitter whose physicality will play well in the SEC, Whitley only faces questions in regards to his sideline-to-sideline range, though he won't have to face as many spread offenses in the SEC as he would have in a league like the Big 12. His first steps are good and quick and his instincts are strong reading and reacting to plays, so he has the skillset required of an inside linebacker, even if he doesn't move like a smaller outside linebacker.