Albany High linebacker Juwon Young turned heads at camps last summer before he even played his junior season for the Indians.
ALBANY — He hasn’t even seen the swaying coconut palms or the beauty and swagger of South Beach or the gorgeous campus in Coral Gables, but Albany High’s Juwon Young, one of the top linebackers in this part of the country, is leaning toward the University of Miami.
Young isn’t a Hurricane yet, but Miami beat all the big boys to the front door, and while Auburn, Florida, Georgia and other major programs — all of which have shown interest in Young — are waiting, Miami has already been to Albany and offered Young a scholarship.
Miami linebackers coach Micheal Barrow, who was an All-American at Miami and had a stellar career in the NFL, came to Albany High and personally offered Young a scholarship.
“Miami is at the top of my list,’’ said Young, who was shocked to see Barrow at the school. “I had talked to him, and he told me about a month ago that he planned on visiting me but I had no idea when he was coming.’’
Young was in second period — environmental science — when he was called to the office.
“I thought my mother had come to the school for something,’’ Young said. “When I got to the office Micheal Barrow was talking with all the administrators.
“I was surprised. I was super surprised to see him,’’ Young said. “My heart dropped to my stomach. I didn’t know how to act. He told me he was coming, but I didn’t expect him to be here so soon.’’
Young was the talk of camps at Auburn and Florida last summer before his junior season, and he has had several offers from schools such as North Carolina, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Marshall and others, but none of the SEC schools have stepped up yet.
“They are all waiting on my test scores,’’ Young said. “But Miami came here and when I talked to (Barrow) I felt like he believed in me. He’s the linebackers coach, and we had a long talk. We talked for a while, and he came out and offered me. I’ve had a lot of offers, but none of the SEC schools have offered me yet. It meant a lot that Miami made me the offer.’’
Young, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 230, brings that blend of power and speed that every college is looking for in a linebacker. He is unrelenting and plays with a passion for the game that sets him apart.
Young made 115 tackles, including 15 for losses and three sacks, and had three fumble recoveries as a junior at Albany High. He was even more impressive at college-hosted football camps, where his name emerged as one of the top linebackers. Young knows how they feel about him at Auburn and Florida.
“They raved about me in the camps at Auburn and Florida, and Georgia, too, but they are all waiting,’’ Young said. “I can see myself going to Miami. I’ve got them at the top of my list now. I wouldn’t be surprised if I committed to them.’’
Young is planning on attending Miami’s camp June 6-8, and that will be an unofficial visit. He said he plans on making an official visit later.
“I am going to wait to make a decision,’’ Young said. “But I see all of these other schools are holding back, and I see Miami believing in me.’’