Sunshine State Loaded at Linebacker

A year ago the question in Florida was "where are all the linebackers?" The answer was that they were in the junior class. Not only is there high end talent, but depth too. Here are 10 to keep an eye on.

Jeremy Benjamin, 6'2, 210, Hollywood McArthur

Benjamin is a player that many have not heard about yet, but they will during the Spring. McArthur has been quiet on the recruiting trail recently, but Benjamin is part of a group that might change that. He is explosive off the edge getting after the quarterback, but also shows the ability to play in space. Great size and length with the frame to add considerable weight, he should see looks in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes.

Benjamin Highlights

James Clark, 6'2, 200, Sebastian River

Clark is a little under-sized at this time, but he is a terror off the edge. Fast and athletic he reminds us of the fleet linebackers that were a staple of Big 3 football 10 years ago. Plays at a school that is lightly recruited, that may hurt him a bit in terms of offers, but this kid can play. Clark will likely need a year or two to add the weight, but should make a big impact down the road. Actually capable of playing Safety as well.

Clark Highlights

Kearse has enormous upside on both sides of the ball
Geoff Vogt,

Michael Deeb, 6'2, 215, American Heritage-Plantation

We think that Deeb is the best linebacker on the field in the state. A prototype middle linebacker, Deeb finds the football and punishes ball carriers. He has an outstanding feel for the game as evidenced by his play in space against the pass. Tough. Physical. Hard worker. Great short area quickness. There is very little risk with Deeb, he is going to start and produce at a BCS level down the road.

Deeb Highlights

Marcell Harris, 6'1, 205, Orlando Dr. Phillips

Harris should probably be listed at Safety as that is where he excels in high school, but we think all that athleticism only increases his upside as a linebacker. Measured in at 6'1 and just under 200 pounds at the UA combine in late December, we don't see how he is not 205-210 as a senior. Might be an ideal Will linebacker with his ability to cover. Harris holds offers from just about everyone in the country and his father was a stand-out at the University of Florida.

Harris Highlights

Jayron Kearse, 6'4, 210, South Fort Myers (Committed to Miami)

Another player where this is mostly projection, Kearse is capable of playing WR or Safety as well. A nephew of The Freak, Kearse has the bloodlines and frame to fill out to well over 235 pounds down the road. Elite, fluid athlete. He has a defensive mentality and plays with a real chip on his shoulder. Play-maker. He has as much upside as anyone on this list and holds offers from the entire country. Kearse has added 10 pounds this off-season and will be used all over the field as a senior.

Kearse Highlights

Dillan Lawson, 6'3, 210, Crestview (Committed to Florida)

We noticed Lawson as we were watching film on running back Micah Reed. It looks like UF was ahead of the curve here as they picked up Lawson last weekend at their Junior Day. This is another long athlete that likes to put pressure on the backfield coming off the edge. Athletic and rangy. Plays with his hand down most of the time so there will be an adjustment period for Lawson in college. A lot of his future will be determined by the type of defense that is run in Gainesville.

Lawson Highlights

Daniel McMillan, 6'2, 210, Jacksonville First Coast (Committed to Florida)

The headliner at this point in the state, McMillan has all the tools to be a special player down the road. Hits like a freight train. Very consistent. Part of a tough defense and led the team to the state title game. He has good size at 6'2 and will be able to carry plenty of weight down the road. We look for him to take the next step as a senior and make more impact plays. Could play any of the LB spots, but is probably best in the middle.

McMillan Highlights

Matthew Thomas, 6'4, 210, Miami Booker T Washington

Very similar to Kearse in the type of tools that he brings to the table, but Thomas has spent more time playing his projected position. A gifted athlete that finds the football and delivers game changing plays. Will settle in at Outside Linebacker at the next level and is a player that should play on Sunday's down the road. It is hard to find prospects with a higher ceiling, although he needs to fill out physically. Will need to cover better in space.

Thomas Highlights

Stacy Thomas, 6'2, 215, Miami Gulliver

Exceptional athlete that plays on both sides of the ball(TE). We think he moves back to linebacker at the next level where his good size and ability to find the football will be highlighted. Could play in the middle. Some schools might recruit him as a pass catching TE. Bottom line he is an intriguing prospect with plenty of versatility. Very active.

Thomas Highlights

Corey Vereen, 6'2, 230, Orlando Dr. Phillips

Vereen already possesses the type of size that colleges are looking for. While his 40 time was a little slow at the UA Combine, his shuttle, 3Cone, vertical, and broad jumps show that this is an explosive athlete capable of transitioning back to LB. 3-4 teams will love what he brings to the table. Also plays TE where he is a plus blocker. Vereen is one of the most heavily recruited players in Central Florida.

Vereen Highlights

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