Spring Football Analysis: LB

Spring football is over. We learned a lot about the team during their last 15 practices. CanesTime's Mike Bakas breaks it down, focusing on the linebackers in this piece.

Denzel Perryman returns for his senior season and is clearly the leader of the group. He started all 13 games last season and led the team with 108 tackles. Nearly all of his playing time came on the outside. He's been moved to the middle for his senior season and he should be Miami's best mike linebacker in several years.

Junior Thurston Armbrister has started 10 games over the past two seasons combined and turned in another solid spring. He's not going to be a game-changer but he's steady and has lots of experience. The challenge for him throughout the spring was holding off sophomore Alex Figueroa for the starting job on the strongside. Fig is more talented but missed some time last season with an injury. When healthy, Fig will likely win the job and give the Canes a solid backup there.

Junior Raphael Kirby and sophomore Jermaine Grace are in a strong competition for the starting job on the weakside. Kirby has a little more experience, having played in all 13 games last season. Grace played mostly on special teams until the very end of the season. He just needs to continue adding weight and strength since he came in here undersized. Both are solid options and should continue competing for the job into fall camp.

Junior Jawand Blue hasn't been able to see the field yet and is coming off a spring where he nearly got passed on the depth chart by freshman Juwon Young in the middle. Look for Young, who seems to have a bright future here, to become Perryman's primary backup in the middle.

Darrion Owens turned in a strong spring for an incoming freshman, and looks to have lots of upside. He'll likely see playing time on the outside.

Terry McCray and Michael Smith both signed with the Hurricanes back in February and are expected to enroll this summer. Both are more likely to see playing time on special teams, especially since Owens and Young got a head start on them because of spring.

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