Meet the New Mids: Linebackers

The Navy Midshipmen return only two linebackers who started last season. The entire linebacker corps is very inexperienced and returns only four seniors on the 12 player depth chart. The good news is a number of these inexperienced players impressed this spring practice. This year's linebacker recruiting class features more direct admits than prep school players.

The direct admit linebackers seem to offer more potential upside than the incoming NAPS linebacker class. will now look at the new Mid linebackers.

Anthony Lewis is a direct admit who was a two star outside linebacker recruit from Cottonwood high school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lewis, who is 6-0, 210 pounds, was a highly regarded recruit. He chose Navy over offers from Utah State, Wyoming, Oregon State, Boise State and Washington State. Lewis was a hybrid linebacker-safety in 3-3-5 defense that utilized his speed and mobility. His senior year Anthony posted 68 tackles to go along with 1 INT and 4 forced fumbles.

Obinna Uzoma is a direct admit outside linebacker from North Carolina. Uzoma is a very good athlete with terrific size (6-3, 215) for a Navy outside linebacker. Uzoma, who has run a 4.55 forty yard dash, has outstanding speed and reads and reacts quickly. He flies around and can uncoil and make the big hit. He needs to improve his coverage pass drops. Uzoma ran the second fastest linebacker time last summer in Duke's football camp. He chose Navy over offers from Duke, East Carolina, Wofford, Brown, Case Western and Holy Cross.

Jordan Drake, a 6-4, 210 pound outside linebacker, is from Ricky Dobbs' home town of Douglasville, Georgia. Drake earned All-County honors at Chapel Hill high school both his junior and senior years. Drake was a two way player at tight end and defensive end. He posted 19 sacks in his high school career. He was a key member of the 2008 and 2009 Chapel Hill state-qualifying teams. In 2009, Chapel Hill head coach Chris Parker called him one of "the best athletes on the field." After his senior year Drake had no FBS offers because he was a undersized linebacker playing out of position. Drake decided to spend the summer and fall of 2010 practicing, training and playing football at the post-graduate Elite Performers Sports Academy in Fairburn while taking classes at Georgia Military Community College. The move paid dividends as Drake grew and has added thirty pounds since his high school days. That led to an offer from Navy which he chose over a few other programs.

Another direct admit is Florida native Chris Johnson. Johnson is a 6-1, 205 pound outside linebacker who played on a Cape Coral team that went 10-2 and made it to the state semi-finals. Johnson was a two way player for an outstanding high school team. He played both linebacker and tight end. His junior year he made 95 tackles and forced four fumbles. Johnson's senior year he averaged over ten tackles a game. Johnson is a very good athlete with quickness and 4.53 speed in the forty yard dash. He plays fast and is extremely athletic allowing him to slip or just run around blocks. Chris has the speed to track down plays from the backside. He needs a year in the weight room. Johnson is currently built more like a free safety and is probably not ready to stand in and take on blockers at the FBS level just yet. Johnson was also an excellent special teams player at Cape Coral high school.

Carrington Lewis (6-3,197) was the only linebacker from the Naval Academy Prep school who saw significant playing time that took the oath on I-Day. Lewis played linebacker at Pelham high school in Alabama where he was a teammate of slotback recruit Ryan Williams. In high school he played stand up defensive end. His senior year he made 72 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 pressures, a pass breakup and had two fumble recoveries. He earned honorable mention All-Shelby County honors as a defensive lineman.

Last year at the Naval Academy Prep School Lewis started every game at outside linebacker. Carrington has excellent straight line speed and runs a legit 4.56 forty yard dash. He is fast and tough and a big hitter who will lay the lumber. However, he runs rather stiff and lacks the fluidity, flexibility and change of direction you'd like to see in an outside linebacker. Lewis runs hard to the ball but too often over pursues and misses too many tackles or was burned on cutback runs. He is a hard worker but needs to spend even more time in the weight room to beef up. He is lean and skinny even by Navy outside linebacker standards and not ready to take on blocks at the FBS level at this time.

Another linebacker from the Naval Academy Prep school is inside linebacker David Thurston. He played at Arvada West high school in Colorado. Thurston is a 6-1, 225 pound linebacker who was named his league's Defensive Player of the Year as a senior when he led one of the top defenses in Colorado to an 11-1 record. His senior year David registered over 160 tackles for a defense that allowed just over 10 points a game. He was named first team All-State his senior year.

At NAPS Thurston played inside linebacker. He injured his knee in the second game of the year and required season ending surgery. When healthy Thurston plays like an old school Mike linebacker. He is a physical, aggressive hitter. David is a very smart player who reads and diagnoses plays quickly. He has a great motor and demonstrates good lateral movement skills.

Thurston is very sound technically and is a big effort player who hustles every down. Thurston had 4.7 speed in the forty yard dash before his knee injury. This summer camp it will be interesting to see where Thurston knee is physically at this time following the surgery. He chose Navy over offers from North Dakota and the Colorado School of Mines.

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