|Olathe North's Marcel Spears. LJWorld.|
Weight: 220 lbs.
Royal Whitaker, Olathe North, (1999-2001); Tre Walker, Olathe North (2007-2009)
If size is the most important criteria for going FBS, then Spears sort of defines the odds, especially for an inside linebacker. He doesn't tower over the opposition, and he doesn't have the physical make-up of a 24-year-old NFL rookie (basically he's not the linebacker version of Braden Smith). He does, however, pack a punch when it comes to athleticism, and all-around playmaking ability.
Spears has been clocked in the 4.6 neighborhood in the forty, and his vertical measures out at 37 inches. Those numbers are very impressive, and not a surprise given how well he's performed on the varsity circuit. As a sophomore he recorded 90 tackles in his first season as a starter. Last fall he ramped up his numbers, recording 119 tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and two blocked kicks. Those numbers suggest he was the league's most active defender in 2013.
Colleges took notice, of course. After a pretty steady recruitment throughout the spring and summer, Spears committed to Iowa State over an offer list that included Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri, among others.
Going forward, keep an eye on how many touches Spears gets offensively in his final high school season. He worked in as wideout for Olathe North quite a bit last year, but his touches didn't always reflect that. Expect Spears to have more opportunities to get the football in open space this fall. He's a good enough athlete to have a major impact on the offensive side of the ball if he's given the opportunity.