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Linebackers taking their place in south Florida

While many areas across the country seem to produce more linemen than others, the linebacker position is something that actually plays right into the hands of the athletes south Florida produces.

A position where many are placed after outgrowing the safety position – or perhaps moved after showing what they can do as a fullback on offense.

While we have always left our footprint on colleges across the country – with prospects like Marvin Jones and Nate Webster – to early stars such as Ralph Ortega and Glenn Cameron, who would pave the way at Coral Gables for stellar players Jon Vilma and Darryl Sharpton.

The linebacker position, for south Floridians who had been used to game-changers such as the great Derrick Thomas, Darrin Smith and Stephen Tulloch, had been turning the corner in recent years – with quality linebackers who have continued to move on to the next level.

As the classes before them, the rising seniors of 2015 have also made a statement to college coaches across the nation – with other under-the-radar prospects getting ready to show how much they have grown over the past year.

This senior class is a tremendous mix of raw football talent along with physical athletes who have made the most of their exposure.

Going into the off season, there were 10 linebackers who were ready tocontinue turning heads:

Marquis Couch, OLB, 6-2, 235, Miami Central: Has the chance to be very special – after two solid years for the state champions. Controls all the action up front – and that is not likely to change with additional help up front.

Bruce Davis, S/LB, 6-0, 195, Miami Killian: Here is a football talent that may be considered as a safety, but if you watch him play, drop into pass coverage and support the run, it’s really hard to ignore him as a linebacker. This young man has a nose for the ball.

Emilio Gibbs, LB, 6-2, 225, Coral Gables: The size and athletic ability alone gives this impressive playmaker a chance to make a huge impact this coming season for a unit that may be as good as you get in south Florida. Big time playmaker.

Chris Hart, LB, 6-2, 220, St. Thomas Aquinas: One of the true playmakers who continues to impress every time you watch him play. Quick and productive against the pass – as well as being a major run-stopper. Made huge plays for the Raiders this past season.

James King, LB, 6-2, 220, Miami Booker T. Washington: Of all the players to come over last year, this quality prospect perhaps received less fanfare than most expected after a tremendous and record-breaking sophomore year at Miami Beach. If he stays health, he is a nightmare!

Sh’mar Kilby-Lane, LB, 6-2, 220, Hallandale: Coming into the season, this is the player who garnered enough interest last year to really be a huge prospect. Before the spring gets going, he will have well over 30 offers from major colleges all ove the country.

Dominic Sheppard, LB, 6-1, 217, Miami Gulliver Prep: Has been on the radar and on every list since his night grade season. Truly a gifted playmaker who has to be on any list you produce.

Adrienne Talan, LB, 6-1, 195, Flanagan: Coming over from Western where many never had the opportunity to see how quick and athletic this young man is, but when he lines up next to the prospects the Falcons have you will see this quality football talent really make a difference.

Jontavious Testa, LB, 6-2, 220, Coral Gables: Another way under the radar prospect who is not getting anywhere near the publicity he deserves. This is a prospect we watched play four times and come away impressed. Came to the Cavaliers from Gulliver Prep last year.

Juwann Taylor, LB, 6-3, 210, Hallandale: When the Chargers received this transfer from Hollywood Hills, they got a player who is indeed a difference maker. Coming off two solid seasons – and now he will be surrounded by talent that will only enhance what he already can do.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.