Rushing the passer is critical for defensive success, and the 2014 recruiting class has a ton of defensive prospects who can get after the quarterback. However, some of the best pass-rushers in this class are not defensive ends.
Linebackers either must be able to cover, or get upfield to menace the pocket on third downs and passing situations. If not, they will be off the field. Looking across the country, several linebackers will be able to stay on the field in college due to their ability to rush the passer.
Texas A&M has a pair of second-level defenders who have the skills to crash off the edges. South Carolina has a commitment from an undersized 'backer who has great quickness as a rusher, and Alabama has an outside linebacker arriving next season who is a great fit for its defensive system.