Getting back to Linebacker U

The University of Miami has a great tradition of linebackers and the current group looks to bring back the nickname "Linebacker U" to the Hurricanes.

Spencer Adkins, 5-11, 235, SR
Arthur Brown, 6-2, 220, FR
Glenn Cook, 6-0, 225, SR
Romeo Davis, 6-2, 230, SR
Jordan Futch, 6-3, 210, FR
Colin McCarthy, 6-3, 220, JR
Kylan Robinson, 6-1, 215, SO
Darryl Sharpton, 5-11, 225, JR
Sean Spence, 6-1, 205, FR

One of the most positive aspects of Miami's team last season was the play of linebacker Tavares Gooden. After playing primarily defensive end in high school and outside linebacker through his junior year at Miami, the coaches switched Gooden to the middle for his senior season and the move paid off for Gooden and the Canes. After going into his senior season projected to be a NFL free agent, Gooden exceeded all expectations and developed into the second inside linebacker drafted in the NFL this past April when his name was called in the third round. The move to the middle obviously paid off for Gooden and the Canes.

The Hurricanes are hoping second year linebackers coach Micheal Barrow, a former All-American linebacker himself at Miami, can continue to develop the current linebackers as well he did Gooden in his final season as a Hurricane.

When Glenn Cook was granted a sixth year of eligibility this past spring, the Canes got a boost at middle linebacker. Considered a coach on the field because of his knowledge of the game, Cook will try holding off strong competition from senior Spencer Adkins, who is fresh off a strong spring.

The leading candidates to start on the outside are juniors Colin McCarthy and Darryl Sharpton. McCarthy had a breakout sophomore season last year when he finished second among linebackers with 68 tackles. Sharpton had 46 tackles, including seven tackles for loss.

Romeo Davis, a fifth year senior this season, also has a lot of experience playing the middle and both outside linebacker positions. He has played in 32 games as a Hurricane and will be counted upon to provide depth and senior leadership this season.

Sophomore Kylan Robinson played wide receiver as a junior in high school before getting moved to running back as a senior. He signed with Miami to play running back but was later moved to defense because of injuries to other players. He didn't see any action last season and how he fits into Miami's plans is still up in the air.

On paper, it seemed like the Hurricanes signed several linebackers in this last recruiting class but only three of them were on campus working out as linebackers this summer – Arthur Brown, Sean Spence, and Jordan Futch. Brown was a high school All-American and is still trying to learn the position. Spence was a tackling machine in high school, while Futch brings a lot of athleticism to the table.

A few other players listed as linebacker prospects are now playing different positions. Marcus Robinson and Gavin Hardin are both playing defensive end like they did in high school and Ramon Buchanan is playing safety, which is one of many things he did as a senior. Antonio Harper, who will likely be a defensive end if he ever comes here, failed to qualify academically. Brandon Marti and Zach Kane are still trying to become cleared to enroll in school for the fall.

With a combination of senior leadership and a lot of potential from the young players, many believe the linebacker corps will be the heart and soul of the defense this season. It'll be exciting watching these guys continue making the University of Miami Linebacker U. And with so many upperclassmen on the roster now in addition to several of the incoming linebackers now playing different positions, the Canes could have just six to seven linebackers on the roster heading into 2009. So don't be surprised if the Canes make linebacker another priority in recruiting this season.

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