'Headhunter' likes UT

You can often recognize a linebacker by the way his face lights up when he talks about belting ball-carriers.

Dalton Overbay is just such a player. A rising junior at Harlan (Ky.) High School, the 6-0, 220-pounder literally beams when he discusses the hard-nosed aspect of football.

"I like the game in general," said Overbay, who was one of the more impressive participants in the recent InsideTennessee combine at Knoxville's D1 Training Center. "I like that drive you have to have to play the game. I like to be original, different, set apart. I try to be my own individual."

Basically, he sets himself apart on the football field by setting opponents apart from their senses.

"I'm a headhunter at linebacker," he said, grinning broadly. "I like to hit, get with it, play the game fast."

Coaches love linebackers who can play more than one spot, and Overbay believes he fits the bill.

"I play outside, middle, either one," he said. "I like outside because you're more in pass coverage, dropping back to cover a receiver. Middle is more about the run game."

Overbay probably projects to the middle, since he exhibited more strength (22 reps of the 185-pound bench press) than speed (4.9 in the 40) at the InsideTennessee combine. He also registered a 33.5-inch vertical jump.

Asked what he does best as a linebacker, Overbay replied: "I think I have real good vision and field awareness."

If things don't work at linebacker, Overbay could wind up on offense in college, a la fellow Kentucky native Channing Fugate of Jackson, who started at fullback for Tennessee as a freshman last fall.

"I play some tailback, too," Overbay noted.

Whatever position he plays, following Fugate to Knoxville would be a dream come true.

Asked which schools interest him most, Overbay replied: "Definitely Tennessee. I've gotten some letters from Louisville, Cincinnati and Michigan. I took an unofficial visit to Tennessee for the Orange & White Game, got to talk to their linebacker coach (Peter Sirmon).

"That was pretty interesting. He's a nice guy. I thought it was pretty cool. They're definitely my No. 1 school if they offer me."

Knoxville's proximity to Overbay's family home in Jackson, Ky., is one of several factors that weigh in Tennessee's factor.

"I'm looking for location," he said. "I want to play at a school where I can travel back and forth. I'm also looking at academics and things like that."


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