The Hurricanes have struggled recruiting the Jacksonville area for a long time now. That didn't prevent them from pulling one of its top prospects over the week. Read on for an analysis from CanesTime's Mike Bakas.
What to Like: Darrion Owens
is one of the top linebackers in north Florida this year, and he committed to the Hurricanes following their camp this past weekend. Miami
has a talented group of linebackers on the current roster but it's a relatively small group. They need to get bigger there, and Owens brings ideal size to the table. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he brings prototypical size to the position for the Canes. With the ability and experience of playing both inside and outside, Owens was very productive as a junior last season. He has a nose for the football, and finished his 10-game junior season with 101 tackles, seven for loss, and two interceptions. He is very active near the line of scrimmage. He makes a lot of plays near and behind it. He also showed the ability to drop into coverage and make a lot of plays. In addition to his two picks, he also batted away nine passes last season. He's a rare three-down linebacker whose best days seem to be way ahead of him.
What may concern you: It's hard to find a whole lot of holes in Owens' game. For a kid his size, he's not the most explosive tackler out there. You'd like to see more of a collision whenever he makes contact. You'd like to see him becoming more physical when taking on blockers at the point of attack. While he has the necessary cover skills to play in space, he doesn't have the best straight-line speed. A lot of these things will come in time.
Bottom Line: Miami needs linebackers, and Owens is one of the best in the entire state. He has ideal size, he's very productive, he can play all three downs, and he showed the necessary intangibles to be successful while at camp over the weekend. With scholarship offers from schools like Ohio State, Georgia, Auburn, and Michigan, Owens was recruited like a high end three star prospect. It's a bit surprising that Florida State and Florida didn't recruit him harder. Either way, this is a tremendous pickup for the Hurricanes in an area of the state where they haven't had much success in recent years.