Junior report: Spring LB Ronnie Palmer

We take a break from our junior DB/WR/ATH focus to bring you a standout linebacker that is arguably one of the top LB/DE prospects in the Houston area this year. Busting people in the mouth in one of 5A's toughest districts, we bring you Spring middle linebacker <B>Ronnie Palmer</b>.

At 6-3, 225 pounds, and a legit 4.7 forty, Ronnie Palmer may not possess the 4.5/4.6 speed of some of his 2004 classmates, but then how many of those kids can actually run the forty time slated next to the height and weight in their respective profiles?

Depends on who you ask and you may not be getting the full story.

Palmer, who was a 15-5A unanimous all-district selection, can definitely run a 4.7, at least that's what head coach Sonny Karras said.

"I don't believe in hyping up my kids' numbers to make them appear to be faster, taller, or heavier than they actually are," Karras told IT. "Some coaches will tell you their kid can run a 4.4 and he can't even run a 4.7. Palmer runs a legit 4.7."

So who is this standout linebacker? Better ask somebody.

He's currently sportin' three scholarship offers, from Big 10 school Northwestern, Pac-10 school Arizona State and SEC West school LSU.

"I'm not sure Ronnie's not our best quarterback," Lions head coach Karras said. "Last year we had two senior QBs that had a pretty good handle on our system and so we moved him to Mike. We moved him there last spring and he was a step behind in making the correct reads -- which is understandable since he never played there before -- but the problem was, (in practice) we still couldn't block him. Anyway, about the ninth, tenth game of the year he was playing some really good football, making the correct reads."

Stats: 73 tackles, 33 assisted, 4 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 4 TFLs, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 6 FRs and 3 blocked punts.

"How's that for a stat sheet?" Karras rhetorically asked.

Pretty darn impressive.

As a sophomore, he played a little receiver and defensive end before finding a home as the Mike linebacker for the Lion defense his junior season.

But his future position may be at DE if the kid keeps growing.

"I could see him adding 20-25 pounds and keeping his speed," Spring high school's head man told IT. "Eventually, I could see him putting a finger on the ground."

So is he a linebacker or a defensive end?

For now, let's just call him what he is. The best middle linebacker in district 15-5A with a future at DE a distinct possibility. After all, there's plenty of guys calling themselves DEs weighing in the 225-235 pound-range. Some, with even less beef than that.

When football season's over, Palmer laces it up for the basketball team before moving straight into track where he throws the discus and shot. So the term "athlete" also applies.

"Sky's the limit for him," Karras said. "He's a great kid and he has a 3.7/3.8 GPA."

Keep an eye on Palmer. Word on the street says he's emerging and has plenty of upside as the LB/DE class for 2004 just got a little deeper.

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