Quarterback On Defense

The Miami Northwestern defense is at the line of scrimmage, waiting for the offense to break the huddle. They've been dominating on this night like they do every Friday. It seems like they know what the offense is going to do before the football is even snapped. Thanks to linebacker Sean Spence, who will be one of the most sought after linebackers in the 2008 recruiting class, they usually do.

As the quarterback is scanning the defense and calling out signals, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Spence is doing the same on his side of the ball. The snap, the run, the hit. On this play, like 167 others just like it this season, Spence leads the charge to the ball carrier and makes the stop. Line it up and do it again all the way to a Florida 6-A state championship.

"He plays mike, sam or will backer," Miami Northwastern head coach Roland Smith said. "He plays all three for me. He has a nose for the ball, very instinctive and very smart player. We call him coach Spence, his nickname on the field because he makes sure everyone is lined up right and he is making all the defensive calls."

Miami, Rutgers and Ole Miss have already offered Spence. He is getting mail from everybody, and Notre Dame is sending its fair share.

Spence reports 4.5 second 40-yard dash time from the Florida camp last summer, and a 4.6 from the Rutgers camp, so it's easy to see how he made it to the ball carrier for 168 tackles last season. He also had 10 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.

Spence and classmates Aldarius Johnson and Marcus Forston, could make for a possible three top-100 prospects on the same team in the 2008 class. Johnson is arguably one of the best receivers in the country, and Forston is a force at defensive tackle. Forston and Spence are the only freshmen Smith has seen start in his 16 years around the program, the last six as head coach.

"(Irish assistant coach) Bernie Parmalee came by and told me how interested he would be in these 08 guys," Smith said.

Smith hears that a lot.

It's lunch time, and Spence isn't in the cafeteria eating. Fast forward to after school, homework is done, but Spence and his 3.0 GPA isn't out with his friends. He's watching film of the next opponent.

"I like to evaluate film and I pick up on it fast," he said. "Everyday, I come in during lunch, and any free time I get, I watch film."

Like a domino effect, what Spence sees on film, he uses to adjust to the look from the show team in practice.

"The scout team does an excellent job giving me a look of what I'm going to see in the game," Spence said. "When the game comes around, I have seen everything and it's a breeze."

There is also a lot in that brain to fallback on. Spence took some lumps his freshman year, but those days are long since past.

"It was big experience for me starting, I had to adjust to the speed of the game," Spence stated.

He was adjusted as a sophomore. Spence led the team in tackles with 96. That stat there, shows how impressive 168 stops the next year really is.

"I like to play fast, aggressive and with speed," Spence explained. "I like to play outside, but I can play them all. Outside I can really use my speed to my advantage."

"He is a down-hill, sideline-to-sideline type player," Smith said.

Spence said he can bench press 225 pounds and squat 315 pounds. He says his weight will be up around 205, 210ish for his senior season.

In no particular order, Spence listed his favorite schools as Miami, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Ole Miss and Florida. Notre Dame is on the radar for a couple reasons.

"Because they are legendary," Spence said. "Their graduating rate is very high, and their football success.

"Armando Allen just committed there, and he is a Miami guy, and I know him real well. I didn't get a chance to talk to him before he went up, but I know his personality and he went there for a reason."

"Anytime you're Notre Dame, you're name speaks for itself," Smith said. "You're on TV every week. You're one of the most prestigious programs in the country."

A program Spence could have a chance to call defenses for in the future.


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