Tigers still in the running for South Carolina's top LB

by - Senior Writer -

Marlboro County linebacker Lateek Townsend stood on the Clemson sideline prior to the Clemson-South Carolina game at the end of November, and it was obvious that Townsend has the size to play at the next level.

Townsend is the 6-2, 217-pounder who is rated as the top linebacker in the state and according to his head coach at Marlboro County, Dean Boyd, he is the complete package.

“He has exceptional speed, and any time you have that kind of size and speed and willingness to get to the football, that is a good combination,” said Boyd, who has coached Townsend for four years. “He is so tall and quick, and he has done a good job for us. He just has that talent and that speed. But he is also wide open all the time, and that is one reason he has been recruited so much. He just knows one speed, and that is wide open, all the time. His motor never stops.”

Boyd said he knew he had a special player on his hands from the beginning, but it was during Townsend’s sophomore year that he knew that Townsend had a chance to play beyond high school.

“His sophomore year, we were playing against Colleton County or Dillon, and he goes out there and just has a real big game,” Boyd said. “He was all over the place. He had double digit tackles, and we realized then that if he has more time, he could be really special. And he has been that way since then. It is nothing for him to have double digit tackles every game, and not many players have it happen like that.”

However, Townsend is more than just a read-and-react linebacker, his coach says.

“He is really good at film study, and knows what the offense is doing out there, and he knows the tendencies of the offensive line, the running backs and the quarterback,” Boyd said. “He is also a reaction guy, and he goes hard, is so strong and has that great speed. In college, he may even be a guy that puts his hand down on the ground. This year alone, he has played safety, inside linebacker, middle linebacker and outside linebacker. He can play any number of positions. It will be just what he grows into and what he wants to do.”

According to Boyd, Townsend is favoring South Carolina at this point, but is also looking at Clemson, LSU, Southern Cal and Florida. Boyd says that Clemson still has a strong shot for a number of reasons.

“They [Clemson] were one of the first ones on him, and if you are one of the first schools on a kid it usually gives you the inside track,” Boyd said. “I know they have shown him attention since 10th grade, and they have been there since then. And he is the type of kid that could go up there and play early, if he wants to do that.”

Townsend finished the season with 132 tackles, including 15 for loss and four sacks.

Lateek Townsend Junior highlights

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