Merritt Island has had a rich tradition and history of producing some top football talent. This year, while lineman Eddie Haupt was receiving all the publicity, here is a player that found a way to steal the show - on and off the playing field!

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This segment of IN THE THE HUDDLE is on Merritt Island linebacker Sean Hayes, who has simply flown under the radar screen all year.

PLAYER: Sean Hayes.
POSITION: Linebacker.
SCHOOL: Merritt Island.
HEIGHT: 5-11

STRENGTH: Is not just a good athlete, but a great football player. Has the quickness and instincts to run down the quickest of running backs as well as putting pressure on quarterbacks. He has been timed at 4.8 plus, but certainly plays much faster.
His run support is among the best I have watched this year. He makes big play after big play with tremendous field vision and the knowledge of the sport.
On pass plays, he sits back and cover backs and tight ends extremely well.
Because of his lack of exposure, many haven't had the chance to watch him, but he is a top five linebacker in the state - no questions asked. Should be a cinch for first team 4A all-state.

WEAKNESS: Most major colleges and second tier recruiters have stayed away without watching him because he isn't over 6-foot- tall and doesn't have the 4.5 speed that most like. That is their loss. To fully appreciate his overall abilities, you need to watch him play over a course of a full game.
Right now, he is projected as a lower D-1A player because of the lack of statewide exposure, but it probably will be a mute point because he could be on his way to an Ivy League school where he will simply blow away that level of competition.

OVERALL: There may not be a more impressive student/athlete in the state. Is on the way to becoming the school's valedictorian. His grades are more than impressive and his leadership is something that his teammates have rallied around all season.
Those who recruit the area say that he has better skills and is simply a better pure linebacker than Johnny Holmes (Rockledge) or Neefy Moffett (Palm Bay) - two of the best players in the state - and both compete in the Space Coast area.

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