Spring Recap: LB

The University of Miami has a nice problem at linebacker. The Hurricanes have only three spots available to six players who could start and be productive.

First Team

SLB: Tavares Gooden; 6-foot-2, 242 pounds
MLB: Glenn Cook; 6-foot, 215 pounds
WLB: Jon Beason; 6-foot, 235 pounds

Second Team

SLB: Romeo Davis; 6-foot-3, 230 pounds
MLB: Darryl Sharpton; 5-foot-11, 218 pounds
WLB: Willie Williams; 6-foot-3, 240 pounds / Spencer Adkins; 5-foot-11, 233 pounds

Third Team

SLB: Eric Houston; 6-foot-2, 230 pounds
MLB: James Bryant; 6-foot-3, 240 pounds
WLB: Demetri Stewart; 6-foot-3, 215 pounds

UM does not have one senior on a unit that is one of the most experienced on the team. The linebacking corps has obviously been working hard in the weight room and is noticeably bigger this spring.

Junior weak-side linebacker, Jon Beason appears to be the only player whose starting role is firmly cemented for next season.

Tavares Gooden redshirted last season due to a shoulder injury in the Florida State game. Gooden is one of the more athletic linebackers who can fly around the field from sideline-to-sideline. He appears to be the leading candidate to be the starting strong-side linebacker, but he needs to stay healthy. He has bulked up to 242 pounds of all muscle since last season

At middle linebacker, a battle for the starting position between junior Glenn Cook and Darryl Sharpton will carry into the fall. Cook is a steady player that makes few mistake, but lacks the strength needed to be a great linebacker.

Sharpton, on the other hand is a player that makes plays. He fills gaps and lanes extremely quick, but he does not have the understanding of the defense that Cook has. LB Glenn Cook has the "clear mental edge right now" at linebacker while Daryl Sharpton has the "physical and talent edge," according to Coker

Sophomore Willie Williams had another frustrating spring football season in which his development was hindered. Williams lost 16 pounds in the span of 10 days due to a stomach virus. Williams was up to 240 pounds.

Romeo Davis continues to impress coaches with his strong understanding of the defense and its schemes. At 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, Davis lacks a physical presence and elite speed and needs to get stronger this summer.

At 5-foot-11, 233 pounds, Spencer Adkins is already one of the strongest and most physically impressive Hurricanes on the team. Adkins has impressed Coker with his ability to close in pursuit. He will probably be used primarily on special teams next season because he is seemingly buried on the depth chart.

After playing last season at fullback, James Bryant returned to middle linebacker this spring. Bryant played primarily with the third team this spring and needs to relearn the schemes.

Demetri Stewart and Eric Houston are two young linebackers that are working hard in the weight room and could possibly see time on special teams. Stewart is one of the fastest linebackers on the team, while Houston has improved his weight to 230 pounds.

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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