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December 6, 2011

Matchup: Mississippi RB vs. Alabama LB

MORE: AL-MS players arrive | More all-star coverage

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The 25th Annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic provides a number of key match-ups between the two squads. One interesting battle to keep an eye on is the Mississippi running back quartet against the extremely talented linebacker corps of the Alabama squad. Here is our breakdown.

The players:

Mississippi running backs: Damian Baker (Columbus), Michael Hubbard (Meridian), Demarkus Dennis (Lafayette), and Deonte Evans (McComb)

Alabama linebackers: Ryan Anderson (Daphne), Beniquez Brown (Florence), Tyler Hayes (Thomasville), Terris Lewis (Linden), Joseph Peterson (Dothan), Larry Pettaway (Blount), and Reggie Ragland (Bob Jones)

The breakdown:

The Mississippi team is going to have four running backs that they can cycle in and out during Saturday's match-up. The most talented of the bunch is McComb (Miss.) athlete Deonte Evans. The three-star Mississippi State commitment packs a punch at 5 feet 11, 198 pounds but also has good top-end speed that makes him a homerun threat.

Evans, who surpassed 1,000 rushing yards as a senior, may be on the defensive side of the ball in college but he is expected to tote the rock for his state on Saturday.

Evans' supporting cast is a trio of backs who are awaiting their first Division I offers - Meridian (Miss.) running back Michael Hubbard, Oxford (Miss.) Lafayette running back Demarkus Dennis, and Columbus (Miss.) running back Damian Baker.

Alabama's linebacker corps is led by a trio of commitments to the Crimson Tide - Madison (Ala.) Bob Jones inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, Thomasville (Ala.) outside linebacker Tyler Hayes, and Daphne (Ala.) outside linebacker Ryan Anderson. The trio, who are all ranked four-stars, head arguably the strongest unit on the Alabama squad. Ragland, who is considered the No. 2 inside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com, is a punishing enforcer in the middle who can fill gaps but also make plays to the outside. Hayes is an extremely athletic linebacker on the outside that can cover a lot of ground laterally. Anderson is a physically imposing linebacker who moves well in space and definitely has the build and ability to come down and act as an edge-rusher.

Another standout prospect amongst the Alabama linebackers is Florence (Ala.) four-star athlete Beniquez Brown. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound athlete has a great combination of speed and size that would allow him to move to the safety spot in college. He will be a solid option for covering backs and tight ends at the linebacker position as he is very good at making plays down the field.

The Alabama linebackers are provided depth by Prichard (Ala.) Blount outside linebacker Larry Pettaway, who is committed to UAB, as well as Dothan (Ala.) outside linebacker Joseph Peterson, who is committed to Georgia Southern. Linden (Ala.) outside linebacker Terris Lewis is still awaiting his first offer and is also part of the Alabama linebacker depth chart.



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