Sunshine State OLBs make Early Commitments

The state of Florida has five of the top 30 Outside Linebacker's in the country according to FoxSportsNext. Three of the five have made early commitments with a host of others, we take a look at the OLB position in Florida.


Michael Smith, 6'2, 220, Miami Northwestern (Miami)

Darrion Owens, 6'3, 210, Oakleaf (Miami)

*Miami's offense is getting close to resembling the 'old days', unfortunately the defense in 2012 reminded many of the "old-old" days when the 'Canes were one of the worst teams in the country. Miami needs significant help on defense, particularly size in the front seven, and both Smith/Owens are long athletes that are versatile. Smith is more of a pass rusher while Owens has been a Safety and should be very comfortable in space.

Smith is one of Dade County's top prospects
Geoff Vogt,

Both are rated as high 3-star's and project to be starters at the BCS level. Miami is continuing to re-establish local ties with the commitment of Smith, but will need to sweat out the Owens verbal as many a Jacksonville area prospect has spurned the 'Canes down the stretch over the past decade.

Dillon Bates, 6'3, 210, Ponte Vedra (Tennessee)

*Bates commitment to Tennessee surprised no one as his father was a stand-out for the Vol's and he was considered a heavy lean the whole way. The younger Bates is a fundamentally sound heat seeking missile and we envision him making an early impact at Tennessee. The Vol's need to start building depth and Bates will help from day one as he is expected to be ready to play. He would have to be considered one of the most solid verbal commitments in the country.

Jacob Pugh, 6'4, 210, Godby (FSU)

*The days of FSU taking the local Tallahassee prospects 'just because' are in the rearview mirror as the 'Noles have passed on several top local area prospects over the past half decade. They went after Pugh however and the long, versatile athlete could find a home at OLB or DE. Pugh helped lead his team to the state title in 2012 and made a ton of impact plays coming off the edge. UF appears as if they will continue to pursue.

Jimmy Bayes, 6'3, 205, Immokalee (USF)

Maurice Hall, 6'2, 200, Gibbs (USF)

*Bayes has been a jack of all trades for the Indians' lining up at WR, TE, OLB, DE, and S. He will likely find a home at OLB in Tampa and Bayes oozes upside. He has added 10-15 pounds over the past year and has come on strong. He is excellent in space and has produced double digit sacks each of the past two years. Hall is another top athlete from the Tampa area that USF locked up early. He needs weight, but can flat run.

Caanan Brown, 6'3, 220, Clearwater Central Catholic (Virginia)

*UVA does not recruit the state of Florida very much, but they moved in quickly on Brown. UVA had TE Paul Freedman from Brown's school and that was the connection to Charlottesville. Brown has lined up all over the field and been productive, some schools were recruiting him at TE, but he jumped on the UVA offer as an OLB. He has college ready size.

Yeargin has a slew of BCS offers to choose from
Geoff Vogt,


Richard Yeargin, 6'4, 220, University School

*Perhaps the most heavily recruited prospect in this article, Yeargin seems to be most intrigued by Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan, and USC with the in-state Gators holding the edge. Yeargin possesses plus size and length, he has good short area quickness, there is a lot of upside here. Yeargin's ceiling may be with his hand down at the next level, but only time will tell.

Once thought to be making an early commitment, Yeargin appears to be taking his time and this one may go down to the wire.

Sharieff Rhaheed, 6'2, 215, Ft. Pierce Central

*The former LSU verbal has opened it back up and Arkansas and Louisville have quickly filled the void as they have jumped out in front. Rhaheed is an extremely productive player from a program on the rise, he teams with Rashawn Shaw to give FPC a pair of high end athlete in the front 7. He has great film and has good versatility.

Lonnie Marts III, 6'2, 210, Harvest Community

*Marts is a natural athlete that makes plays on both sides of the football. Linebacker is the easier projected (also a RB) as his speed and athleticism are stand-out qualities. His father was an excellent player who played professionally. At 6'2, 201 he ran a 4.69 laser at the UA Combine. He is the first prospect from this school which has not helped his exposure.

Xavier Preston, 6'2, 205, Jensen Beach

*Preston is somewhat unique in that he plays QB and projects to OLB at the next level. A gifted athlete this is the type of Florida 'talent' that makes football prospects the no. 1 export from the Sunshine State. WVU, GT, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Wake Forest among others have offered. Preston has yet to visit the out of state schools.

Tre Watson, 6'1, 215, Tampa Catholic

Watson is a good candidate to be a prospect whose stock continues to rise. He holds offers from Illinois, USF, and UCF while being on the radar at Boston College, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. Watson has a nose for the football, but needs to improve his speed.

Brice Hamilton, 6'4, 205, Madison County

A knee injury set Hamilton back and he is just returning to form. At 6'4 a strong senior season should see many of the regional BCS offers come his way. His length is very attractive

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