Chances are you've already heard of Hernando LB Darren Hambrick, who comes in at No. 44 in our HomeTeam 100 (see Nos. 41-50 here).
2011 stats: 81 tackles, 5.5 sacks
The breakdown: You might recognize the name. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior shares a name with his father, one of the top athletes in Tampa Bay history who starred at Pasco before becoming a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys.
But the younger Hambrick’s production has helped make him a household name to a new generation of fans and recruiters. He starred as a sophomore with more than 80 tackles and earned all-area accolades. He followed that up with a standout junior year that helped earn offers from Missouri, Kent State, UMass and others.
He saved his best performance for the Leopards’ biggest game, recording 10 tackles and tallying a sack in a heart-breaking loss to Gainesville in the first round of the playoffs.
Hambrick enters his senior year noticeably stronger than last year — a good thing, considering the leadership and high expectations he and his team will have to shoulder this year. He and fellow HomeTeam 100 member Jeremiah Jackson will lead a loaded linebacker position that, if successful, could push the Leopards’ to a second consecutive district championship.