Meet the New Mids-Linebackers

The Navy Midshipmen are expected to enter this fall with three senior starters at linebacker. Although two of the top NAPS linebacker prospects didn't make it to I-Day, this incoming class of plebes looks to have a number of talented players who could eventually contribute. will now look at the new Mid linebackers.

This linebacker class took a major hit when both of the star inside linebackers at NAPS failed to make it to I-day. Highly regarded recruits Grant Clifton, the Naval Academy Prep School defensive MVP, and fellow inside linebacker Joseph Mbuyamba are not coming.

Marcus Mack (6-2, 210) was an outside linebacker last season at the Naval Academy Prep School. Mack played defensive end in a two point stance for North Atlanta high school in Georgia. Mack made 103 tackles as a junior and 77 tackles as a senior. Mack is a very athletic 6-2, 210 pound outside linebacker with 4.67 speed. Mack was looked at by a number of ACC and SEC schools but not offered due to his lack of size.

At NAPS Mack demonstrated very good speed, agility and balance. He was a productive player with an excellent closing burst. Marcus needs to improve his fundamentals and learn how to play linebacker. He played as a stand-up defensive end in high school so much of last year was a learning experience. He'll need time to develop so he can play up to his speed but could contribute down the road.

Jude Merkel is a local linebacker from Urbana high school in Maryland. Merkel is a 6-2, 200 pound athlete who played both ways in high school. Jude earned Maryland All-State honors for his play at defensive end. He was named First team All-Region as a senior defensive end and tight end when his team won the state championship.

Last season at the Naval Academy Prep School Merkel missed much of year with an injury. He recovered to return late in the year and then played very well. Merkel is strong, fast and athletic. He didn't play very much until late in the year because of injuries and was switched to linebacker so he'll need some time to develop. Despite his lack of game experience at linebacker, Jude showed good instincts and the ability to play the position. If Merkel continues to develop he can be a factor down the road.

Micah Pescaia will join his older brother, senior back-up center, Kahikola on the Navy football team this fall. Pescaia was an all-league performer at Kamehameha High School in from Hawaii. He earned defensive back MVP at the National Underclassmen combine in Hawaii. Pescaia played Rover at the Naval Academy Prep School early last fall. He was later moved to outside linebacker due to injuries. Pescaia is a 5-11, 195 pound player with average speed. He's a solid wrap-up tackler and has good instincts. The staff will have to decide if the keep him as an undersized striker linebacker or move him back to safety.

Tyler Lehrke (6-1, 190) played safety and linebacker for Mira Mesa high school in California school. Lehrke made 97 tackles as a junior. In his senior year he made 120 tackles, recorded four sacks and scored seven touchdowns as a fullback. He was an all-league performer who chose Navy over offers from Air Force and Harvard.

Lehrke played out of position at inside linebacker last year at the Naval Academy Prep School. Tyler is a very smart, instinctive, competitive player who understands the game and his assignments. He has above average 4.6 speed in the forty yard dash if he plays outside linebacker and can drop into coverage. Lehrke was not as big or athletically talented as the other linebackers at NAPS last fall but is a solid player. He'll need to spend some time in the weight room to get stronger and fill out his frame. He'll most likely be moved to Striker or Rover in this defense.

Nick Martinez (6-2, 230) played both defensive end and tight end at Reicher Catholic high school in Texas. Martinez was an All-State performer as a defensive end. He was named Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year after his standout senior season. Last year at the Naval Academy Prep School he was switched to inside linebacker. He injured his shoulder during preseason practice and missed the first eight games. Martinez was impressive when he played in the final two games of the year despite the position change. He is physical, takes good angles and can find the ball. Nick offers good size and speed. He has run a 4.7 in the forty-yard dash Martinez will be tried at inside linebacker but if he fills out his frame he might return to defensive end down the road.

Trevor Smyth is a 6-foot, 225 pound inside linebacker from Valencia high school in California. He drew interest after a solid showing in the Los Angeles Nike Summer camp before his senior season. As a junior he was named All-Region after he recorded 68 tackles and five sacks. His senior year he made 63 tackles despite missing three games due to a neck injury. At the Naval Academy Prep school last season he was a backup and stuck behind the best two players on the team. To get on the field the NAPS staff moved Smyth to defensive line. He did a nice job rushing the quarterback. He is quick and strong and will probably be moved back to inside linebacker.

Tyler Goble is a 6-1, 220 pound direct admit inside linebacker from Plymouth high school in Michigan. Goble was a three star rated recruit after his impressive showing at national combines before his senior season. He was rated a top performer at the Midwest Elite Camp and was second team all-combine at the U.S. Army Junior Combine. During his senior season Goble made 138 tackles, 28 for a loss, posted six sacks and picked off a pass. Goble is tough, smart, instinctive linebacker who reads plays quickly and can stuff the run inside. Tyler had sideline-to-sideline range in high school. His initial commitment was to Bowling Green where his brother plays but he had a change of heart. Despite his combine performances Goble's lack of height, relative to the position, caused most Big Ten schools he was initially interested in to pass on offering Tyler a scholarship. Goble chose Navy over offers from Bowling Green, Citadel, Eastern Michigan, Harvard and Princeton.

Nick McCrory (6-0, 215) is a direct admit outside linebacker. He was a very productive undersized linebacker for Calhoun high school in Texas. He had a tremendous senior year posting 145 tackles, making 19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and recording 12 sacks. He also showed the ability to drop in coverage and intercepted two passes, broke up another five and scored six touchdowns on defense. He was his area's Defensive Player of the Year and earned First-team All-State honors at linebacker.

Zach Hester (6-2, 217) was an All-State linebacker from Boyle county high school in Kentucky. Despite receiving strong interest from Arkansas, Zach was one of the earlier commits for Navy last summer. Hester led Boyle during his senior season in tackles with 179, made three interceptions and had three fumble recoveries. As a running back on offense he produced 862 total yards and 10 touchdowns.

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