Star LB Has UM in Top 3

Some kids enjoy the spotlight on the football field. Some kids embrace it, as it brings out the best in them. In Jamar Chaney's case, he wants to feel it every time he's on the field.

"I just love to play the game," Chaney said. "That's the bottom line with me. I really thrive on pressure. I feel that's when I'm at my best. When our backs are against the wall, I'm looking to make the big play. That's just who I am out there."

At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, Chaney enjoys knocking heads with the opposition. As a junior last season at West Centennial High School in Port St. Lucie, he was virtually unblockable. He finished the year with 120 tackles, 22 for loss, six sacks, and five caused fumbles while playing with his hand down as a defensive end. He'll be switching to linebacker, his projected college position, this fall.

"One of the things that really helped me out was when I'd always be practicing against the big guys," he said. "We had two real big tackles last year, one's going to Central Florida and another one is playing somewhere else. Then against the other teams, I don't see anyone much better."

Chaney, who also competes in varsity basketball, is a superb athlete. At the recent MSL Combine in Gainesville, the talented linebacker prospect ran a 4.56/40 on grass, jumped 34.5 inches, and posted a camp-best 10-5 on the broad jump. Now he expects to turn those numbers into even more production on the football field.

"My biggest goal this season is to become a first team All-American," he said. "I wanna be able to play in one of those all star games in Texas or whatever so I can show people that I'm one of the best."

Chaney, who has already received a qualifying ACT score, has become a hot prospect for college coaches as well.

"We're supposed to have about 20 college coaches there for our spring game on the 21st," he said. "I like Miami, Florida State, and LSU the most right now. They're the leaders. I also like Southern California a lot too."

Although Chaney has not yet received any scholarship offers, he does get handwritten mail from his current favorites.

"I don't even bother reading the mail that everyone gets," he said. "The ones that are handwritten out are the ones that matter because they take time to write and not many people get them."

Chaney believes there's a lot to like about the three schools he currently likes the most.

"I like Miami because of how many people they send into the NFL," he said. "That's my goal -- to get to the league and I think Miami prepares you well for that. I've seen Florida State practice and I liked it. They go hard. At LSU, they run the type of defense I like. They rush their linebackers a lot."

You can be certain that the 20 or so college coaches at his spring game later this month will walk away quite impressed.

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