You missed Darreon Herring at Vanderbilt. He was an early enrollee and will see the field early and often. If the word out of camp is true, he will be a surefire All-freshman team kind of guy.
That’s brought up often and it can usually be traced to the linebacker position.
There’s speed all over the field in the SEC, but it stands out at linebacker when you include the size that comes with it. The 2012 signing class should help carry on that tradition.
Here are the top five true freshman linebackers in the SEC.
1. Otha Peters – Arkansas
The Arkansas coaching staff began its praise of Peters early in fall camp. Peters, who originally committed to Tennessee, could be the most underrated 2012 signee in the SEC. He went without a scholarship offer from in-state LSU. Expect big things from Peters (6-1, 228), who should see significant playing time immediately. His career in Fayetteville will only get better.
2. Kwon Alexander – LSU
There’s a reason Alabama and Auburn never slowed their pursuit of Alexander even after he tore his ACL in 2011. He’s adjusted quickly during practice this fall and should contribute early to LSU’s talented defense. Alexander (6-2, 215) needs to add weight but has the kind of athleticism coach John Chavis requires to play linebacker in his defense. Alexander should excel under Chavis’ guidance.
3. Antonio Morrison – Florida
The Gators don’t typically have to travel to Big Ten country to find their top defenders, but Florida did that when it signed Morrison out of Illinois. Smart move. Morrison (6-1, 218) has already shown he will make a big impact in Gainesville. Florida has an experienced group of linebackers, but Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins won’t be around forever. Morrison should be a good replacement.
4. Richie Brown -Mississippi State
Bulldog fans should be excited about the future at linebacker. Brown and fellow freshman Beniquez Brown (no relation) have both impressed at linebacker this fall. Richie Brown (6-2, 225) is a great athlete – he played multiple positions on offense in high school. That experience should pay off when he’s pursuing opposing players in the SEC.
5. Kaiwan Lewis – South Carolina
Lewis (6-0, 225) looks like he’s ready to play in the SEC now. He’s a good athlete who has the size to be a physical player at the inside linebacker position. South Carolina has continued to recruit elite talent on defense. See guys like Jadeveon Clowney, Stephon Gilmore and Melvin Ingram. Don’t be surprised if Lewis is mentioned with their names in a few years.
Be sure to keep up with recruiting from across the SEC on MrSEC.com’s Recruiting Page.