As the countdown of the Top 60 players at UM continues, we take a look at one of the team's few remaining 2005 recruits and seniors: No. 24, LB Darryl Sharpton. The nephew of the Rev. Al Sharpton is a rarity at UM. He's actually one of the guys who has overachieved the past few years.
> What we heard about him on Signing Day '05: Looking back at the 2005 class, there weren't many players who truly developed into big-time play makers outside of Kenny Phillips. Most of the class turned out to be filled with under performers who never lived up to the hype. Sharpton was one of four linebackers in the class, but was considered by Rivals to be the lowest rated of the group (Spencer Adkins, Demetri Stewart and Eric Houston were rated higher). Sharpton obviously turned out to be much better than that and one of the bigger contributors out of a very weak class. At Gables, Sharpton starred on both sides of the ball, making 96 tackles, three interceptions and blocking four punts. He chose UM over Stanford, UMass, Boston College and Brown.
> What he's done as a Cane: You want the only real example in the last four years of a UM overachiever? It's Sharpton. He's the most experienced linebacker on the team right now with 20 career starts. Yes, more than Colin McCarthy (who has 14). Sharpton hasn't been spectacular by any stretch. But, he's been out there, contributing in some fashion, which tells you all you need to know about why UM's linebackers have been subpar for the past few years. He had 66 tackles last season in 10 starts (4th best on the team) and has 160 in his career including 16 for loss, 10 quarterback hurries and 2.5 sacks. He can play inside, he can play outside. RIght now, most expect him to start alongside Sean Spence and McCarthy heading into the fall.
> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: At 5-11, 235 pounds, Sharpton doesn't have a whole lot of speed. But he can lay the wood. His 535-pound squat is the fourth best on the team and his 301 pound power lift shows you he has the muscle on top to bring guys down. The issue is you want to see guys like Arthur Brown, Ramon Buchanon and Jordan Futch outperforming him by the end of the season. Physically, those three are more talented than Sharpton and much quicker, too. If they are playing more than he is at the end of the season, UM's linebackers have improved. If not, if Sharpton is still out there making all the tackles with Spence, then you know UM's defense probably didn't have a good season.