Inside the Game: Ty Linton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Charlotte Christian earned a first round bye in the NCISAA 11-Man Division I Playoffs with a 27-7 Friday night victory over cross-city rival Providence Day.

Role

Ty Linton rarely left the field Friday night. Not only did he start both ways, he returned kickoffs and was on the kickoff, punt return, and field goal units.

For the most part, Charlotte Christian used two base offensive formations: I-formation and shotgun. In the I-formation, Linton served as the tailback. While in shotgun formations that called for two running backs, Linton was one of the ‘backs, otherwise he lined up at slot receiver.

It was surprising how often Linton was used as a blocker on offense. He didn't touch the ball until a couple of minutes into the second quarter and carried the ball seven times and was targeted for a pass six times. Charlotte Christian does have several offensive weapons at its disposal, though.

Defensively, Charlotte Christian lines up equally in 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. Linton plays outside linebacker, typically the weak-side.

Generally, Linton dropped into a zone and read the offense. However, he was asked to blitz on several occasions and was in man coverage a few times.

Big Plays

Linton had two touchdown runs Friday night. His first was arguably the most significant, since it was ultimately the game winning score and came after a couple of run stuffs by the Providence defense.

Running out of a WR-twins I-formation with an H-back, Linton took a toss outside and read the blocks made by the fullback, H-back, and wide receivers.

"I got just a good push up front," Linton said. "They were blitzing a lot of guys late. Our line made a lot of good calls and some last minute checks. I was able to find a crease and get in there."

While he received several good blocks, Linton did a nice job setting up defenders and using his vision to find the end zone.

In the third quarter, up 14-7, Charlotte Christian faced a third-and-long situation from its own 34-yard line. If it doesn't convert the first down, Providence Day would gain possession with good field position.

"We were just working on running a Florida offense, as we call it," Linton said. "[Quarterback] John [Kincaid] gets up there and he'll read the defense. We're just seeing what the defense gives us. We saw a lot of opportunity with a lot of 8s and 9s [post and fly routes]."

After breaking through a minor jam by a linebacker, Linton found a gapping hole in the middle of the field.

"The safety was playing up and gave me a little crease in the middle," Linton said. "I was able to slip in there and get a good catch."

Linton caught the ball at midfield and wasn't tackled until he reached Providence Day's 20-yard line.

Three plays later, Charlotte Christian scored on a nine-yard touchdown run.

Statistics

Offensive: 7 carries for 32 yards and two touchdowns; 6 targets, 2 catches for 47 yards; 1 fumble
Defensive: 5 tackles (2 solo), 2 sacks, a fumble recovery
Kickoff Return: 2 returns for 37 yards
Rushing Breakdown: 0, 9, 0, 8t, -1, 12f, 4t
Receiving Breakdown: 0, target, drop, target, target, 47
Kickoff Return Breakdown: 19, 18

(t=touchdown; f=fumble)

Evaluation

Linton fits the prototype for the hybrid safety-linebacker position that UNC is recruiting him for. He appeared to be better in coverage than in pursuit, but was lethal as a blitzer coming off the blindside edge.

While Linton's footwork allowed him to navigate through traffic, he had difficulty consistently breaking blocks. Also, he sometimes allowed the play to come to him, instead of charging the ball carrier.

Linton excelled and looked very comfortable in both man and zone coverage. While in zone, he displayed good range and while in man, he showed the ability to stay at the receiver's hip.

Linton is a reliable tackler, who squares his shoulders to the ball carrier, wraps, and drives through contact.

When he blitzed, Linton's burst and closing speed allowed him to make an impact. If he didn't sack the quarterback, he usually created enough havoc to force the quarterback out of the pocket.

As a ball carrier, Linton runs with a lot of determination and will keep his legs moving upon contact. He's not overly elusive or powerful, but is a smart runner who has tremendous vision and solid footwork.

Linton is a solid receiver both out of the backfield and in the slot, but he's not the sharpest route runner.

While blocking, Linton sometimes struggled hitting moving targets. However, once he engaged a defender he was able to sustain his block for an extended period of time and thus take that defender out of the play.

Linton is one of Charlotte Christian's five team captains.

Overheard

Linton hasn't scheduled his UNC official visit yet. But, he is considering taking the visit within the next couple of weeks. UNC hosts Duke and Miami the next two Saturdays.

In the meantime, Linton has been following UNC's season.

"They had a big win against Virginia Tech [Thursday] night," Linton said. "I'm happy that we're turning it around a little bit [and] getting back on track."

According to Linton, UNC is recruiting him as a "rover" (hybrid linebacker-safety).

"A guy that's able to come off the corner and be able to drop back in coverage, too," Linton explained. "In talking to Coach [Butch] Davis and Coach [Everett] Withers, the defensive coordinator, they see me on special teams, they see me on offense and defense. So wherever they need me, I'm playing."

Other Standouts

Charlotte Christian boasts the most impressive linebacking corps in the state and likely one of the best in the nation. In addition to Linton, Ohio State commitment David Durham and Duke commit Kelby Brown line up at linebacker for Charlotte Christian. Both ‘backers epitomize the description "football players."

Brown, who is a team captain, appeared to be all over the place Friday night. He easily recorded double-digit tackles, including the game's first three stops. He would have had more if the offense didn't run away from him. He also lines up at guard on the offensive line.

Durham wasn't as aggressive as Brown, but still made eight tackles and made running up the middle difficult for Providence Day. He also served as a fullback, where he scored on a nine-yard run.

Brown's younger brother, Kyler, a junior defensive end, could be the next great defender to come out of Christian. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, the younger Brown consistently put pressure on the quarterback and had seven tackles.

(Check back tomorrow for video footage of Linton's performance.)

Ty Linton Profile


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