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Countdown to kickoff: 18

8/14/2012

From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 18 and what it means to UA football. See all the previous editions here.

Since Nick Saban's arrival in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the University of Alabama has had an argument for often overused moniker of "Linebacker U." Just a few months ago, the Crimson Tide had two linebackers taken in the first 35 picks of the draft. Between the likes of Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Rolando McClain, DeMeco Ryans and Dwayne Rudd, UA has had more than two dozen first-team All-American linebackers in its history.

So when Reggie Ragland signed with the Tide in 2012, he immediately joined a prestigious class of linebackers. The No. 2 inside linebacker in the country put on No. 18 at Alabama and followed in the path of some of the game's greats.

But Ragland isn't the only high-profile linebacker to sign with Alabama out of high school. The depth chart is littered with four- and five-star recruits. Here's a breakdown of all the linebackers to sign with Alabama since 2008 and how they've ranked.

2012

Reggie Ragland -- No. 2 ILB

Dillion Lee -- No. 6 OLB

Ryan Anderson -- No. 7 OLB

Tyler Hayes -- No. 10 OLB

Denzel Devall -- No. 22 DE

2011

Trey DePriest -- No. 2 OLB

Xzavier Dickson -- No. 4 DE

Shannon Brown -- No. 13 ILB

Vinnie Sunseri -- No. 18 OLB

Brent Calloway -- No. 23 ATH

2010

C.J. Mosley -- No. 7 OLB

Jalston Fowler -- N/A OLB

Petey Smith -- N/A ILB

2009

Nico Johnson -- No. 2 ILB

Petey Smith -- No. 5 ILB

Tana Patrick -- No. 9 OLB

Jonathan Atchinson -- No. 14 OLB

2008

Courtney Upshaw -- No. 4 DE

Jerrell Harris -- No. 8 OLB

Chris Jordan -- No. 20 OLB

Dont'a Hightower -- No. 26 DE