Jon Sumrall continues to be a valuable presence for the Kentucky football program on the recruiting trail and he just pulled another win in the Deep South. Martez Thrower is a high three-star linebacker prospect who ranks as a top-60 player in the Peach State. Thrower becomes the third commitment in the class of 2021 from Georgia and each was recruited by Sumrall.
There is no hiding from the fact that inside linebacker is a position of great need in the class and UK found itself in a hole when Dublin, Ohio native Devon Williams flipped from Kentucky to Minnesota back in April. Kentucky had to find some bodies in a hurry and they went the JUCO route first landing Joko Willis before dipping back into high school ball.
Now it is time to step into the KSR Film Room to show you what type of player Sumrall is adding to his position room. The Wilcox County linebacker is a force in run support and has a frame that could really develop in the weight room.
At 210 pounds on a 6-foot-2 frame, that is a little bit light in the britches for an inside linebacker but beef has not been a prerequisite at Will. Both Jordan Jones and DeAndre Square have played at a high level despite neither having a playing weight at 220 pounds. In this spot you have to play with some bite because you are a key cog in run support.
The linebacker looks much bigger than his listed size in pads and is a natural reading the pulling guard and getting downhill. While playing Mike, Thrower gets downhill, drops his hips and delivers a strike for the run stuff. Exactly what you’re looking for from an inside linebacker prospect.
In a perfect world, one of your four line of scrimmage players would demand a double-team while the other three guys go one-one-one with the rest of the three offensive line players. That would leave your linebackers free to roam and make a bunch of tackles. However, that is just not the case and at inside linebacker you have to be able to shake blocks in small areas in order to be an impact player.
Thrower takes on the pulling guard head on and disengages by using the big man’s momentum against him. He stays square and makes a play on a ball that helps prevent a potentially huge gain. Some really good stuff from a young player.
This right here is the good stuff.
Lining up as a rush end, Thrower blows up the running back and then finds the quarterback for a chase-down sack fumble. Pretty, pretty good.
When looking for a single trait that any effective Power Five defensive player must have, you almost have to go with speed. Playing defense is all about reacting to what the offense gives you and speed can help you cover all of the grass the offense is trying to take advantage of.
The Mike linebacker trails the misdirection play and has enough closing speed to bring down the runner for a minimal gain. At inside backer, you have to have the toughness and physicality to to fight through traffic but you also must be able to kick it up a gear and go make plays near the sideline. Thrower can do both.
The major recruiting services list this high three-star linebacker as an outside linebacker and his size tells us that he seems like a fit at Will, but it’s obvious after watching the tape that the South Georgia native will play Mike at the next level. He already looks bigger than his listed size and he should easily get up over 230 pounds once in UK’s strength & conditioning program. He is very good inside the tackle box against the run, but can also play with speed to cover the sideline-to-sideline areas.
He’ll need some time in the weight room to get up to the required size at the position, but Martez Thrower certainly looks like UK’s Mike of the future. He continues what is starting to become a growing pipeline in South Georgia with three commitments in the last two classes (D’Eryk Jackson, Chauncey Magwood, Thrower) joining the likes of Jamin Davis, Qua Mahone and Travis Tisdale who are currently on the roster.
The Wildcats are starting to pull out of South Florida when it comes to recruiting and it looks like South Georgia is taking its place.