Spotlight: Kyle Linney, Part I

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. -- Alexander Central defensive tackle Kyle Linney really didn't waver with his commitment too much after Chuck Amato was fired by NC State.

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    "I looked around but my choice was still State," Kyle Linney told Pack Pride. "I was still committed there. State has been my daddy's favorite team, and I just grew up watching them play. I figured I could make him proud if I went there. I even surprised him... I didn't even tell him I was going to commit when I did. He was just happy for me.

    "Plus, with them being in North Carolina, I figure it would be great to help them turn the in-state football program around."

    At 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, Linney impressed last spring with his quickness and strength. After a senior season where he was tabbed all-conference, he was selected to play in the 2007 Shrine Bowl.

    Facing some of the best talent in South Carolina, Linney was one of the surprise stars for the North Carolina squad. He was explosive from his nose guard spot, recording a tackle for loss, three tackles, and several quarterback hurries. He was routinely in the South Carolina backfield and did a good job of helping to disrupt the Sandlapper offense.

    "The sky is the limit for Kyle Linney."
    "Coach Cignetti was still [at NC State] then, and he told me I did pretty good down there," said Linney. "I know coach O'Brien was down there, but I don't know about any of the other coaches. I think I did a good job in that game and at the practices that week. For me, it showed that I can play with any of those guys."

    Linney acknowledges that he is still building a relationship with the new NC State coaching staff.

    "I'm getting to know the new coaches," he said. "They've tried to stay in contact with me a lot, and the defensive line coach, coach Willis, he stays in touch with me weekly.

    "When I first met coach Willis, it didn't seem like he was a coach. He's a cool guy, and he was really straightforward with me. He tells it like it is, and I like that."

    A fall verbal, Linney committed to NC State while on campus for the Wolfpack's ACC game against Georgia Tech. He stated the fans played a role in his decision.

    "The fans are crazy," he said. "It's shocking. I've never been around a crowd like it. I know they didn't win that game, but I won't forget how great the fans are. I can't wait to play in front of them."

    Alexander Central assistant coach Todd Fox firmly believes NC State is getting one of the state's top players in Linney.

    "I think that Kyle, with his size and strength, and with the way that North Carolina State will continue to develop him, has the potential to reach the NFL," said Fox. "I think Kyle just needs to understand that he has to remain focused on his academics and stay disciplined so that he can turn his potential into reality.

    "Regardless of how good a person he is, he needs to remain focused on those two areas, and I think he can. If he can do that, the sky is the limit for Kyle Linney."

    *****

    Check back tomorrow for Part II of Pack Pride's exclusive feature on NC State signee Kyle Linney ...


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