Vols Court King Cobra

If you were building an android to play middle linebacker you would want one capable of flowing through thick traffic, blowing up big fullbacks, going from sideline to sideline and knowing where the football is go headed. Or you could save yourself the time, trouble and expense by simply signing Josh Bynes.

Rated No. 9 among all linebackers by Scout.com, it's difficult to believe there is any prospect in the nation's distinguished Class of 2007 more qualified than Bynes to command the middle and arrest forward progress.

At 6-3, 226 pounds entering his senior year at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., he has prototypical size, while his formidable 4.7 flat time in the 40 is augmented by uncanny instincts and unerring angles of pursuit. He also has impressive strength — bench press of 330 pounds and a 450-pound squat — to shed blockers, stop running backs and strip the ball.

He has done exactly that on a frequent basis the last two years for the Anderson Cobras. As a sophomore, he posted 107 tackles in 10 games. However, it was as a junior that Josh Bynes established himself as one of the nation's best middle linebackers, amassing an amazing 147 tackles, including 127 solo stops with eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two sacks in a 7-3 season.

"My strength is my ability to pursue the ball," Bynes told IT. "I can kind of see things before they happen and I'm able to get from point A to point B, from sideline to sideline, and make the tackle. I don't concentrate on big hits but I make sure they go down. I'm more a tackle type person."

He's also a big play type person as he demonstrated while deployed in the center of 4-3, 4-4 and 3-3-5 alignments. His biggest night came in the season finale against Ely High School in which he made 22 tackles, forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles and added a sack. However he brightest moment may have come in the Cobras' season opener.

"We were down 19-0 in the first game of the season in the fourth quarter with about five minutes left," Bynes recalled. "Next thing you know we blocked a kick and scored. The very next possession I came up with a fumble and we down and scored again. Then a couple of plays later I made another fumble recovery."

Scout.com analyst Mike Bakas offered the following appraisal of Bynes as a prospect: "A patient player that reads and reacts to play very well. Once he identifies the situation he gets to the ball carrier in a hurry. Bynes moves very well laterally and is able to take on and defeat blocks at the point of attack. He tackles well and is a good run stopper. If he leaves his feet he's right back up and gets after the play. Bynes has all the physical attributes to excel at MIKE at the next level – size, speed and quickness."

Bynes' abundance of attributes have attracted an uncommon amount of interest from college scouts, and spawned some 30 scholarship offers four days before preseason practice at Boyd Anderson even begins. Some recent reports indicated Bynes' was a lean to Auburn, but he disputed that account in his interview with Inside Tennessee today.

"Auburn is my favorite," he stated. "I wouldn't say I have a favorite right now. I'd say LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, Notre Dame, UCLA, Iowa, Florida State, Arizona State and Pittsburgh are going to be my top teams."

The Volunteers have closed ground to get into the lead pack for Bynes' services. One reason is the recruiting efforts of UT's Trooper Taylor. Another reason is the favorable reports on the program Bynes has been getting from former teammate Gerald Williams, who is currently in Knoxville.

"Coach Trooper is recruiting me," Bynes said. "Coach Trooper is real cool. I've talked to him a couple of times and he introduced me to their program and stuff. It's a real good relationship. I'm going to call him. I'll probably hit him up later. "I see that Tennessee's got some real good linebackers. They have Kevin Burnett at Dallas and they have Gerald Williams. He was my teammate and I talk to him a lot. He's real optimistic about Tennessee. He says they're real good, they treat you right as players. It's not real far and I'm hoping to get up there and see what's going on." Bynes admires Williams and is inspired to carry the torch on defense for the Cobras like Williams did as a upper classman at Boyd Anderson.

"I knew with Gerald being gone there wouldn't be another linebacker that could cover because Gerald was just plain out raw," Bynes said. "I had to show them because he was gone didn't mean they were going to be able to run on us. They weren't going to pick on us just because big Gerald was gone."

Bynes carries a 3.0 GPA and is taking his ACT in September. He wants to become a math teacher one day and academics will be an important factor in his decision. He is also looking for a comfort level with the coaching staff and an opportunity to play early.

"Tennessee is one of the schools I'm planning on visiting this fall," he said. "They're definitely one of my top schools." The Vols definitely aim to charm King Cobra on his visit to The Hill.

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