Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors
There’s a great deal of player speed in D1 football and no shortage at the linebacker position for 2009. According to NoleDigest.com, UNC’s starting linebackers might be the fastest collectively in the country. Of course using the 40 yard dash as the only metric for speed is highly questionable. But I can’t argue about UNC Linebacker Zach Brown’s pure speed. He’s no doubt one of the fastest in the nation!
If we take into account that UNC players ran on mondo, which is a fast surface, and were hand-timed…Brown ran 4.50-4.55 electronic (this is just an estimate). That’s very fast for a linebacker and his 100 meter time from high school correlates to his projected electronic 40 of 4.5-4.6. A legit 10.70 / 100 meters correlates roughly to electronic 4.5-4.6 range. Brown ran 10.67 and 21.52 in high school. (Data below from Dyestat.com and The Washington Post)
Class 3A Boys
Top teams: 1, Westlake 78; 2, Wilde Lake 52; 3, Bethesda-Chevy Chase 47; 4, Long Reach 45; 5, Mervo 42.
100 – Zach Brown, Wilde Lake, 10.67
70 21.52 Zach Brown — Wilde Lake HS , MD 3A State Finals , MD
Southern Cal’s Linebackers:
I think I’d have to look at Southern Cal’s projected starting linebackers before UNC’s in terms of fastest as a group. Southern Cal’s linebackers include Michael Morgan, Malcolm Smith, and Chris Galippo. This group would have included speedy incoming freshman linebacker Frankie Telfort, but he unfortunately was forced to give up the game due to a heart condition. Telfort ran a 10.89 / 100 meters at his Florida high school district meet this spring.
Michael Morgan ran a 21.59 /200 and (41.98) 4×100 relay time as a senior at the District 9-5A Meet in Dallas, TX 2006. Malcolm Smith ran 11.06 / 100 and 22.59 / 200 at the Los Angeles Section Meet in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Chris Galippo threw 54’05 in the shot put as a senior at the Trinity League Meet in 2007. Now that’s not sprinting but as a middle linebacker that gives a great indication of his explosiveness in close quarters…I’d imagine he can “close” on the football. Maybe I’m wrong but I’d give the nod to USC’s LB crew over UNC’s based on this data…forget 40’s.
Purdue’s Linebackers: (My darkhorse group)
Now I know I might take some heat on this one…but Purdue’s projected linebackers CAN really run. This group includes Jason Werner, Joe Holland, Chris Carlino, top reserves DeVarro Greaves and Tyler Haston. These guys collectively might not be as big physically as other programs but again they can move.
Werner (has had major back surgeries) might not be as fast as he once was but he ran 10.85 / 100, 21.88 / 200 and (42.34) 4×100 during the state tournament series in 2004 & 2005. Joe Holland ran 11.13 / 100, 22.62 / 200, including (42.45) 4×100 and (3:19.57) 4×400 in the 2005 Indiana state track meet. Chris Carlino threw the discus 125’05 at his county track meet as a junior and was a standout basketball player. DeVarro Graves qualified for the Georgia state track meet in multiple events including the 300 hurdles and 4×400 relay. Tyler Haston was 6’07 high jumper and qualified for the Indiana state meet in the 4×100 relay (42.98)…not bad for a linebacker and he played quarterback in high school too.
What about the Nole Linebackers?
Well they stack up pretty well but I still place USC and Purdue slightly above. I could use the forty times quoted here by The Chopping Block / Orlando Sentinel, but I don’t like to do that, the times are just too inflated. Regardless Dekoda Watson is fast and Kendall Smith was an explosive thrower in high school…backups Recardo Wright and Mister Alexander displayed some natural speed and explosiveness too. If we take 40 times at face value it seems that ALL FSU linebackers are faster than most programs skill players by comparison.
Dekoda Watson ran 11.07 /100 and (42.59) 4×100 relay and 42’09 triple jump at the Region 4-4A Meet in South Carolina 2006. Kendall Smith finished fourth at the state meet at 52’05 in the shot put, South Carolina 2007. Recardo Wright posted an 11.29 /100 dash at the District 4-4A Meet, Florida 2006. Mister Alexander leaped 44’05 in the triple jump at Dave Bethany Relays in 2006…add in a 20’08 long jump during the 2006 season too.