2010 Intro: Ty Linton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- On its way to a NCISAA 11-Man Title last season, Charlotte Christian relied heavily on the versatility of Ty Linton.

"Ty presents so many options for you as a coach - offensively, defensively, and on special teams," Christian head football coach Jason Estep said. "At any given time he can change the game on one play."

Linton not only started both ways for Christian, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder returned kickoffs and punts.

Defensively, Linton is the featured weapon in Christian's 3-4 scheme – the weak-side outside linebacker.

"That gives us the opportunity to bring him off the edge," Estep said. "You have to know he's there, because if not and nobody picks him up, somebody is going to get hurt.

"He's strong enough to play the run, he's explosive enough to rush the passer, and he's also athletic enough to cover receivers."

Linton, who had 80 tackles and 8.5 sacks last fall, is a two-time NCISAA 11-Man Football Division I All-State selection at linebacker.

In Christian's two-back spread offense, Linton starts at running back, where he carries the ball 15-18 times a game. He will also split out to wide receiver several times a game.

"You think he's going to be in the backfield, but all the sudden we widen him out and try to get vertical on somebody or use him as a decoy," Estep said. "There are a lot of different things we try to do with him, because he's so versatile."

Linton's abilities also extend to the baseball diamond. He plays centerfield for Christian and maintains a .430 batting average. With Linton's help, earlier this spring Christian won the Westminster Spring Break Classic, a tournament that included teams throughout the nation. He was named the tournament's best hitter after hitting 14-for-16 including two home runs and two triples.

College coaching staffs have noticed Linton's versatility. He has collected scholarship offers from Duke, Illinois, Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

"I was talking to Coach Keith Henry of Wake Forest the other day – they offered him last week – and they just feel he's a can't miss because if you misevaluate him on one side of the ball, you can put him on the other side of the ball," Estep said.

Outside of Virginia, which is recruiting him as a running back, most schools primarily project Linton to be an outside linebacker on the collegiate level.

"In the college game now with all the spread offenses you play, you have to have a guy that's strong enough to play the run and can guard a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in a trips or an empty package," Estep said. "So you need athletes like Ty to be able to do all that's necessary."

UNC is the most recent school to offer Linton. Shortly after arriving on campus Saturday for the Tar Heels' Spring Game, he was escorted to Butch Davis' office.

"He sat me down and talked to me and my dad and offered," Linton said. "He said he could see me doing a lot of things there [at UNC]. They're looking at me as an athlete where they can play me at safety, throw me down there at linebacker, [or] maybe see me on the opposite side of the ball."

During his stay Saturday, Linton was also introduced to UNC's newly hired linebacker coach, Art Kaufman, who will also handle Linton's recruitment.

"He seems like a great guy, definitely knows his stuff," Linton said. "If Carolina is the place, I'm definitely looking forward to working with him. He seems like my kind of coach."

The offer immediately puts UNC among Linton's favorite schools.

"Carolina is close to home [and] who wouldn't want to go to Carolina?" Linton said. "Butch Davis is an amazing football coach. I've talked to Coach Fox and Coach Davis about playing both sports and they're both open to it – they've had guys do it in the past."

UNC plus Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, and West Virginia make up Linton's top five schools list.

"[With those schools I like] the football programs – some of them are up-and-coming, the coaching staff, all but Wake will let me be a two-sport athlete," Linton said.

Football is easily Linton's first love, but he's looking to also play baseball in college.

"Playing baseball as long as I've had and being pretty good at it, it's hard to quit and not do it anymore," Linton said. "I'm basically going to play until I can't play anymore or until a coach tells me I can't play anymore. As of now, I want to be a two-sport athlete and see where it will take me."

Linton is expected to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft, but not high enough to consider going the professional baseball route.

"It would have to be a ridiculous sum of money," Linton said with a laugh. "I'm planning on going to college. It would have to be something that I absolutely can't walk away from."

Linton is considering making a verbal commitment before the end of the summer.

"I'm looking for a place where I can come in and make an impact, coaching staff, and probably academics and football tradition," Linton said.

Besides UNC, NC State is the only other school Linton has visited, because of his hectic baseball season.

Linton's baseball season will continue to monopolize his time deep into the summer. He does, however, hope to sneak in a few camps and visits. Currently he's considering a trip to Tennessee on April 18.

Ty Linton Profile

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