Spotlight: Kyle Linney, Part II

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. -- Alexander Central defensive tackle Kyle Linney believes that physically he can come in and play right away at NC State.

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    At 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, Kyle Linney has been timed as low as 4.9 in the 40-yard dash. Don't expect him to try and add or lose weight prior to arriving in Raleigh.

    "The coaches haven't said anything to me about my weight," said Linney. "When I took my visit down there, they said they were impressed with the way I look now. Unless I hear something different from them, I'm just going to keep lifting and try to come in like I am now.

    "I'm going to try and get stronger and quicker, but I think I could play right away if they needed me to."

    "I think Kyle is an oustanding athlete," Alexander Central assistant coach Todd Fox said. "He's very strong and physical. We have a great weightlifting program here, and it shows with his play on the field. I think that he will develop into a great defensive lineman at North Carolina State.

    "I think his strength and his determination are his biggest strengths. Both of those two assets together make him an oustanding player because he has a desire to get to the football."

    "It's really nice over there in Raleigh."

    Fox believes that Linney can continue to improve on the fundamentals needed to play defensive tackle, but he really has few weaknesses.

    "I think at any level improving technique is important," said Fox. "I do believe Kyle will continue to grow as a player. He has so much going for him, and all he needs to do is take the skills he has now and take it to the next level. There's not a lot Kyle needs to improve on. He has everything you look for, and he just needs to realize his potential and stay focused."

    NC State has had a lot of success recruiting and developing defensive linemen over the previous years. Mario Williams, Manny Lawson, and John McCargo were all first-round draft picks in 2006. Tank Tyler is projected to be selected in the first three rounds of the 2007 NFL Draft, and with continued improvement senior Demario Pressley has a chance to be a first-round pick in 2008.

    New defensive line coach Keith Willis didn't have a lot of natural talent to work with at Boston College, but he did turn Mathias Kiwanuka, a scrawny, unheralded recruit from Indiana, into a consensus All-American and a first-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.

    Linney is excited about the opportunity to play for Willis and potentially follow talented tackles such as McCargo and Tyler.

    "Their success influenced me a lot," he said. "A lot of State's defensive linemen have been going to the NFL. They have not just been entering the league, but they are going in the early rounds. I feel if I have a chance to get to that level, they have the coaches there to get the most out of me."

    Linney currently projects as a full qualifier, as he is solid in the classroom.

    "I'm going to be good," he said. "I've got to pass all my classes this semester, and I'll be able to make it through. I just need to keep up my GPA, and I'm going to be straight."

    "I think he's fine academically," said Fox. "As far as his athletic ability, I know he can get to that next level. I don't know of any problems with Kyle academically. He's a very smart and intelligent person."

    Linney indicated that he will be moving to Raleigh later this summer so he can enroll in the second summer session of classes at NC State. He visited the area frequently for games in 2006, and he is very fond of the location.

    "It's really nice over there in Raleigh," he said. "Anything is better than being around here. I'll be really ready to get there when July comes around."

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