Analyzing the best Dallas-area high school linebackers in the Class of 2025

There are 11 linebackers listed among The dallas Morning News’ Top 100 area recruits for the Class of 2025, ranging from No. 5 to No. 95 and all from different high schools.

It is the largest quantity since 12 featured on the Class of 2021 top 100 list.

Nine of the 11 are already committed, including five to the Big 12, two to the SEC, one to the Big Ten, and one to the ACC. The two others have secured at least one offer from a power conference program.

Six players are ranked in the top 50, and McKinney’s Riley Pettijohn ranks the highest at No. 5.

Here is a look at the 11 linebackers in this year’s top 100.

Related:Analyzing the top Dallas-area football recruits in the Class of 2025

No. 5 Riley Pettijohn

McKinney’s Pettijohn is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound defensive powerhouse. He recorded 125 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception and four QB hurries during his junior season, ranking as the No. 29 overall prospect and No. 3 linebacker in the 2025 class, per 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He announced his commitment to Ohio State on Saturday after racking up more than 30 Division I offers, including from Texas, Texas A&M and USC. Pettijohn is the 23rd commit for Ohio State’s 2025 class and the third and final linebacker. He is one of two Texans in the 2025 recruitment class, alongside cornerback Devin Sanchez, and the only player from the Dallas area.

Pettijohn is known for his athleticism and closing speed. He is also a successful track and field athlete, competing in the long jump and 100-meter dash. He posted a 10.77 second 100-meter dash this spring.

No. 8 Elijah Barnes

Skyline’s Barnes announced his commitment to Texas on April 12, turning down offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and LSU, among others.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound rising senior is a four-star recruit, ranked as the No. 78 overall prospect and No. 11 linebacker in the 2025 class, per 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Barnes had a successful junior season with 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, four interceptions, and six forced fumbles. He was named Texas District 11-6A Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2022 as a sophomore.

Despite his size, Barnes boasts impressive speed. He anchored Skyline’s 4x100 meter relay team and clocked a 10.96 100-meter dash this spring.

No. 13 Kelvion Riggins

Riggins led Forney to the 5A Division I state semifinals last season with 88 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. The 6-foot, 205-pound rising senior is a four-star recruit and ranks as the No. 33 linebacker and No. 44 Texan in the 2025 class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Riggins announced his commitment to Texas A&M on January 28, joining the No. 7 ranked 2025 recruiting class.

As a sophomore, Riggins led South Oak Cliff to its second consecutive 5A Division II state title and earned a District 6-5A Division II First-Team selection at defensive end.

No. 32 Jayden Shelton

South Oak Cliff’s Shelton had 119 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception across 15 games his junior season. The 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker led the Bears to a 5A Division II state runner-up finish, after earning a championship ring in 2022 as a sophomore alongside Riggins.

Shelton is a three-star recruit, ranking as the No. 53 linebacker in the 2025 class, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings. He committed to Arkansas on April 15, turning down offers from 23 other schools.

No. 34 Jonathan Cunningham

Cunningham led North Crowley to a 14-1 record and 6A Division I state semifinal appearance last season, recording 38 total tackles and 27 solo tackles.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound linebacker is a three-star recruit, ranking No. 48 at his position and No. 68 overall in Texas for the class of 2025, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He trimmed his list of 19 offers down to just three programs: TCU, Texas, and Utah. He will announce his decision on X (formerly Twitter) this Friday.

No. 50 Dillon Arkansas

Denton Ryan’s Arkansas committed to TCU on May 1 after a successful junior season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound inside linebacker recorded 73 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions, leading Denton Ryan to a 8-3 record.

He is a three-star recruit, ranking as the No. 96 linebacker in the 2025 recruitment class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Arkansas chose the Frogs over Baylor, Duke, Cal, Missouri, SMU, Kansas, and Utah, among others, joining the No. 19 ranked 2025 recruiting class.

His older brother, DJ Arkansas, is a linebacker at Rice University and also played for Denton Ryan.

No. 51 Richmond Ugochukwu

Richardson Berkner’s Ugochukwu is a three-star recruit, ranked as the No. 59 linebacker and No. 95 Texan in his recruitment class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker committed to Houston on May 10, after receiving offers from Arkansas, Texas State and Baylor, among others.

Ugochukwu also runs track, clocking a 23.48 in the 200-meter dash this spring.

No. 53 Weston Polk

Polk led Coppell to the 6A Division II regional finals last season, recording 46 total tackles, 34 solo tackles, and three sacks.

He is a three-star recruit, ranking as the No. 87 linebacker in the class of 2025, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound rising senior committed to Kansas State on April 29, denying offers from Arkansas State, Houston, California, and TCU, among others.

No. 58 Ke’Breion Winston

Winston recorded 111 tackles, 12 sacks, nine tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles last season, leading Lancaster to the 5A Division I regional finals.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound linebacker is a three-star recruit, ranking No. 124 for his position in the class of 2025, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Winston committed to California on May 31, turning down offers from Arkansas, Baylor, SMU, and others.

No. 72 Brock Golwas

Flower Mound Marcus’ Golwas committed to Texas Tech on Jan. 15 after playing both ways as a junior. He ran for 258 yards and 10 touchdowns on 7.2 yards per carry. On defense, he recorded 38 tackles, three tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, four pass breakups, and seven QB hurries.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker is a three-star recruit and ranks as the No. 98 linebacker in his recruitment class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He also plays baseball for Flower Mound Marcus as a right-handed pitcher and outfielder.

No. 95 Tristan Lawyer

Frisco Wakeland’s Lawyer had 107 total tackles, 56 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and eight QB hurries last season.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound three-star recruit has since received offers from Baylor, Navy, Texas State, and others.

On Twitter: @sophia-vesely

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