L.C. Bird Notes: Junior LB One To Watch

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L.C. Bird’s (Chesterfield, VA) defense shined in its first preseason competition of the 2010 season, stifling both the Westfield and Dinwiddie offenses. There are many standouts on the Skyhawks defense, but flying around from the middle linebacker position was Deontae “Deon” Clarke, who appeared to be the vocal leader of the group.

Clarke, a junior, started out his sophomore season as a strong-side linebacker. Because of an injury, he moved to the middle linebacker spot early last season and took to the position immediately.

“He had a great year from there,” Bird head coach David Bedwell said of Clarke, who earned first-team all-Dominion district honors in 2009.. “This year, he came into camp in really good shape. He has grown two inches. He looks good. He is lean and he’s able to run. He is around the ball all the time. Like [UVa-bound senior] Anthony [Harris], he is having a great camp.”

College coaches have taken notice of Clarke, who checks in at 6-2, 205 pounds. With another big season, don’t be surprised if the talented prospect is firmly planted on the radar of many FBS programs.

“He’s got some interest,” Bedwell said. “Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech, JMU, William and Mary…all of those schools are interested. When we sent out tape last year, I would get phone calls and coaches would ask about number 42. He’s going to have to stand out on film this year. He’ll have to do his work in the classroom. He could be a highly recruited player for us.”

Another junior defender to watch is 6-0, 235-pound defensive tackle Torrie Pettis, who was also a first-team all-Dominion district selection in 2009.

“Torrie is a great football player,” said Bedwell, who uses Pettis at defensive tackle and fullback. “He was a linebacker as a freshman. He played defensive tackle last year. This year, he has put on 15 to 20 pounds. He is a great defensive lineman. He is probably not a tackle in college, though. He’ll probably play defensive end. He is a kid you can depend on. He’s steady. He is great off the ball.”

Junior offensive tackle Tyler Fischer, expected to be a potential college recruit as well, has moved to Connecticut. The Skyhawks are also looking to replace talented running back Lionel Williams,