Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Position breakdown: North Suncoast linebackers

Wesley Chapel’s Jacob Fisher, a two-year starter, uses his knowledge of the game plus his physical gifts to be successful.


Wesley Chapel’s Jacob Fisher, a two-year starter, uses his knowledge of the game plus his physical gifts to be successful.

As the 2009 prep football season approaches, the Times will break down each position on the North Suncoast. Today we take a look at top linebackers.

1. Darryl Cooper, Sr., Gulf

Height/weight: 5-10/180

2008 stats: 139 tackles, two sacks

Notable: Cooper tore a tendon in his ankle during the final play of Gulf's spring game. He used crutches and spent about two months in a walking boot. Lately, though, he has lifted weights with his upper body and started to jog. Coach Jay Fulmer expects Cooper to be cleared by Aug. 29 or sooner. Cooper enjoyed a breakout season in 2008, almost doubling the tackles of the No. 2 player on the stat sheet. Gulf's defense is designed to feed the middle linebacker, and Fulmer said that's Cooper's job. Cooper is good at reading plays and reacts with strong instincts. He's not a heavy hitter, but rarely misses a tackle thanks to good fundamentals. Cooper has scholarship offers from Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman.

2. Jackson Cannon, So., Land O'Lakes

Height/weight: 6-3/200

2008 stats: 31 tackles, one fumble recovery

Notable: Cannon was dominant during a recent intrasquad scrimmage, highlighted by an interception return for 30 yards. But first-year coach Matt Kitchie noticed Cannon right away as his play ignited during the first three days of full contact. "He's your prototypical college linebacker," Kitchie said. "As someone who used to coach college football I would go after him in a minute." Kitchie said he's a natural leader and other kids want to follow in his footsteps. If that holds true on the field, the Gators should have one tough defensive unit. Cannon's strength is being in the right place at the right time. He is a sharp tackler and carries a 3.0 GPA. Kitchie said he's a Division I prospect.

3. Thomas Bronson, Jr., Hernando

Height/weight: 6-2/210

2008 stats: 110 tackles, 11/2 sacks, one interception

Notable: The key to Bronson's success is his versatility as a four-sport athlete (football, weightlifting, track, baseball). Leopards coach John Palmer said those sports help tremendously in making Bronson agile and quick with good stamina. In fact, Hernando football players are mandated to play at least two sports, Palmer said. Bronson, a Hernando Christian transfer in 2008, showed quickly he could be useful in other areas, including running back, tight end and defensive tackle. Primarily, he's a strong-side linebacker.

4. Jacob Fisher, Jr., Wesley Chapel

Height/weight: 6-2/210

2008 stats: 93 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries

Notable: Fisher is a student of the game and devours football knowledge. As a two-year starter he wears the coveted black practice jersey awarded to the top defensive player at Wesley Chapel. Beyond soaking up defenses and tendencies, Fisher is physical and smart. He approaches practice at full speed and when something (rarely) does not go his way, it triggers an intense desire to improve.

5. Anthony Moore, Sr., Mitchell

Height/weight: 5-11/225

2008 stats: 107 tackles, one sack, two fumble recoveries

Notable: Moore is the leader of a talented linebacking corps. First-year coach Brian Wachtel likes Moore's ability to make open-field tackles. He has good instincts and is big with plenty of speed. In the 3-5 defense, the emphasis is on the linebackers. Moore stepped up last year and emerged as a bona fide threat, despite limiting his commitment to offseason conditioning. That changed after his breakout year, and Wachtel said he has been impressed with Moore's commitment to the offseason program.

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (813) 421-3886.

Position breakdown: North Suncoast linebackers 08/18/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  2. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. State baseball: Unbeaten Calvary Christian makes it 29 straight wins, reaches final


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian is one game from season-long perfection. And its first state championship.

     Calvary Christian players celebrate their win after the FHSAA class 4A semi-final against American Heritage on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary defeated American Heritage 7 to 1. Calvary takes on Pensacola Catholic in the championship tomorrow night, at Hammond Stadium.
  4. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  5. Rays journal: Rookie Daniel Robertson takes pride in sparkling defense

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Rookie INF Daniel Robertson has earned raves for his defensive play at both second base and shortstop, making a highlight play almost every game he starts, including one in the fifth inning Friday.