signed two linebacker prospects this season, Earl Everett and Howard Lingard.
Everett was rated all-season long as one of the nation's top defensive
prospects while Lingard was an unknown until late in the season when teams like
Florida State where trying to recruit him.
Both players are athletes that can really run.
With Mike Nattiel Bam Hardmon and others moving on, you could see these
two and the red-shirt freshmen all have a chance to make an impact one way or
another for Florida in 2003.
Earl Everett (6-3, 210, 4.5) is from Bushnell (Fla.) South Sumter High School and he is some player.... easily one of the top prospects in the nation. He has many of the same qualities as Ernie Sims - versatility, size, speed, power, aggressiveness and play making ability on both sides of the ball. Everett will likely play outside linebacker at the next level. He has terrific closing speed and is a big, big hitter. Everett always seems to be at the right place at the right time. He pursues well, can rush the passer and take on and defeat blocks at the point of attack. Offensively, he is a very good running back and there is no doubt that he could play that position if he wanted to at the college level. He runs with power and speed and has some amazing athletic ability. Everett played quarterback, tight end, middle linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end, safety and strong safety as a senior.
TheInsiders.com First Team All-America that totaled 232 tackles, including 13
sacks, and had seven interceptions, six fumble recoveries and four forced
fumbles in his career. He finished
with 527 rushing yards on 52 carries (10.1 avg.) and six touchdowns despite
missing most of his final season with an injury (ankle).
Lingard (6-3, 220, 4.6) is
an outside linebacker prospect from Oviedo High School in Florida. He is a tall
and lanky linebacker that looks like he could add a bunch of weight and be an
OLB/rush end at the next level. Lingard is a good pass rusher with good speed.
He is just quick off the edge and pretty aggressive. Lingard is good against the
run but is at his best when he is chasing things. Overall, Howard Lingard looks
like a solid prospect.
fullback, running back, wide receiver and outside linebacker as a senior.
Lingard recorded 90 tackles.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the linebacker race is wide open. Brian Crum, Channing Crowder, and Taurean Charles all have a huge advantage over the talented Everett and Lingard because they have been on campus and will get a spring practice under their belts. If they struggle, that could open the door for the incoming freshmen to break through and get into the rotation. Everett may be too talented to keep off the field this season. Both players need to get into the weight room, especially Lingard. He could also beef up in the future and become an outside linebacker/ rush defensive end. One way or another, the freshmen, whether the are incoming or have been red-shirted, should make a sudden impact at Florida.