Spring Peek: Linebackers

A couple weeks ago this position was on the minds of ‘Canes everywhere. All wondered about depth. Well, with a recruiting class of 4 and some steady, young, and talented individuals already in the fold the worries are gone. The ‘Canes return all 3 linebackers from a year ago with the only loss being top reserve Howard Clark.

D.J. Williams (6'2 245) came into UM as one of the top prospects in the nation. Williams started out as a fullback at Miami. Williams is ultra-talented with an NFL body. He has grown into his 'backer spot and should continue to flourish into the player everyone feels he can be. Sky is the limit for Williams.

Jon Vilma (6'2 225) is the middleman in the ‘Canes defense. Vilma plays with great instincts and passion. Must tackle better, but is not afraid to lay the wood. Thrust into playing time in his freshman year, Vilma has grown physically into his position. Should continue to legacy of ‘Cane linebackers in the middle.

Rocky McIntosh (6'3 225) took over the starting role last season and didn't look back. Has really come on as a player. Possesses tremendous potential and showed glimpses throughout last year. Has all the necessary skills to man the strong side. Must keep polishing his game.

Darrell McClover (6'2 220) is a special team's maven. McClover is one of the strongest players on the team. He has the capabilities to play either linebacker position. Team player with enough talent to start at most D-1 schools.

Leon Williams (6'4 225) is the heir apparent to Vilma in the middle. Williams has contributed on special teams in addition to seeing some playing time in mop up duty. Williams has tremendous potential and should be the next great ‘Cane in the middle. He has tremendous size.

Jarrell Weaver (6'3 210) is the ultimate team player. Special teams contributor who also plays linebacker in the nickel packages. Tremendous athleticism in a lanky frame.

Carl Walker (6'3 215) is a converted safety who got injured mid-season. Walker has not acclimated himself to linebacker as of yet. Tremendous package of ability. May redshirt.

Buck Ortega (6'5 220) was moved from quarterback to linebacker. Ortega contributed on special teams before getting injured. Should be 100% by fall to compete for a backup spot. Good athleticism just needs to learn the position.

Glenn Cook (6'1 210) was slept on by most recruiting services. Lanky frame to build on. Most project him as a middle linebacker. Needs to add strength and weight.

Tavares Gooden (6'2 225) comes in with the most acclaim. Gooden is a package of speed, potential, and a body ready made for an immediate impact. Should continue to grow physically.

Leo Waiters (6'0 230) is a Dade County product who should develop into a solid player. Waiters may end up at fullback. A year of weight room and speed work and Waiters should be able to contribute.

Ali Highsmith (6'0 210) is the cousin for former ‘Cane Alonzo Highsmith. Ali is an explosive linebacker that plays with a serious motor. What Highsmith lacks in size he more than makes up in heart. Highsmith projects at one of the outside linebacker spots.

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