Scouting The Linebackers

Ernie Sims, the No. 1 rated player in the country for the class of 2003, is expected to compete for the starting strong-side linebacker position. This past season as a true freshman Sims showed signs why he was one most heavily recruited players of all time.

His size, speed and athletic ability make his a perfect fit for the strong side. The 6-foot and 230 pound Sims with 4.5 40 speed is strong enough to take on blockers and he's fast enough to cover the tight end. He has All-American potential and he could be considered one day in the class of former Seminole greats like Marvin Jones and Derrick Brooks. In his freshman season as a Seminole, Sims recorded an impressive 42 tackles with two tackles for a loss.

A.J. Nicholson is expected take over for Kendyl Pope at the weak-side linebacker position. The 6-foot-2 and 234 pound North Carolina native was quite impressive as a backup as a true sophomore. His strengths are his instincts and his ability to shed blocks easily. As a junior, The Territory predicts that Nicholson will compete for all-acc honors. Nicholson was 7th on the team with tackles (55).

Sam McGrew was the back up for starting middle linebacker Allen Augustin and he looks to be the frontrunner for the starting position in 2004. Last year as a true sophomore he proved that he's physical and fast enough to handle the job. The 6-foot-3 and 239-pound McGrew recorded 19 tackles and two tackles for a loss.

Buster Davis got off to slow start in his college career and saw very little action as a true freshman. The 5-foot-11 and 233 pound middle linebacker has starting potential. With some hard work and a solid spring he could possibly beat out McGrew for the starting nod. His strengths are his amazing speed and blitzing ability.

Ray Piquion was a solid backup to starting strong-side linebacker Michael Boulware. However, he will not be available for the first part of the spring due to a shoulder injury. Even though he's the next in line on the depth chart, he could get passed by Ernie Sims. As a true junior, he recorded 16 tackles.

Marcello Church, who enters the 2004 season as a redshirt junior, is versatile enough to play either outside linebacker positions. Last year he flashed signs of tremendous potential while recording 13 tackles mainly on special teams.

Barry Wright, a transfer from Coffeyville Community College, will enter spring drills as a weak-side linebacker. However, the 6-foot and 225 pound sophomore is versatile enough to play all three-linebacker positions. His strength is his explosive speed (4.5/40). This past season in junior college, he recorded 90 tackles and four sacks.

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