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Albany High LB Young commits to Miami

Albany High rising senior Juwon Young, one of the top linebackers in the state, commits Saturday to Miami.

Albany High rising senior Juwon Young, one of the top linebackers in the state, commits Saturday to Miami.

MIAMI — Juwon Young stepped out of Miami coach Al Golden’s office on Saturday afternoon and had to sit alone for a moment.

It was a moment he had dreamed about for almost a lifetime.

“I had to make sure this was actually happening,” Young, a rising senior linebacker at Albany High, told The Herald in a phone interview from Miami. “It felt like it was a dream. But it feels great to be a ‘Cane.”

Young, one of the top linebackers in this part of the country, verbally committed to the University of Miami on Saturday, becoming the first linebacker in the Class of 2014 to commit to the Hurricanes.

Young told The Herald in early May that he was leaning to the ACC school in South Beach, and in the past weeks he said he never wavered from Miami.

“I got closer and closer to Miami,” Young said. “I still looked at other schools and talked to other coaches, but Miami came down to be the chose one.”

Young had offers from several school around the country — including North Carolina, Western Kentucky, South Alabama and Marshall — but the possibility of him playing immediately for the Hurricanes kept Miami at the top of the list.

“I feel like it’s a great fit for him, being that he can go in there and play immediately,” said Albany coach Felton Williams, who was one of the first to talk to Young Saturday afternoon after the news broke. “I don’t know who was more excited, him or me. I told him congratulations, to stay humble and to just keep working in the classroom and on the field.”

It was the academic scene at Miami that also stood out to Young.

“The way the academic program is set up is great,” he said. “They have 100 tutors just for football players, and I get tutoring eight hours a week. So it’s like, how I can I fail my classes as long as I come to class and do what I have to do?”

Young, who is the 11th commitment at Miami for the Class of 2014, is 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 230 and brings a blend of power and speed that every college is looking for in a linebacker.

He made 115 tackles, including 15 for losses and three sacks, and had three fumble recoveries as a junior at Albany High.

Williams said Young’s commitment — and bright future — is something for the entire community to be proud of.

“Words cannot speak for what this does for our program,” Williams said. “It shows kids that regardless of where you are, if you put in hard work and determination they will find you.”