Linebacker Jaleel McRae is a centerpiece of Florida State’s 2019 recruiting class, and he’s arguably the most important prospect who’s already signed with the Seminoles.
The Bradenton IMG Academy product is rated four-stars and is the country’s No. 200 overall prospect. He signed with FSU during the Early Signing Period and has the potential to contribute immediately given his skill set and the fact that he plays a position that’s in need of a substantial overhaul.
Noles247 continues its senior highlight series with a look at McRae’s senior film, as well as our three favorite plays that summarize his game.
FSU needs linebackers who can play in space, and McRae is capable of doing just that. IMG often used McRae to guard the slot, and he was extremely comfortable in this role.
McRae’s highlights are sprinkled with examples of him playing well in space and covering receivers downfield. Here, he does well to turn and run with a receiver to guide him to another part of a zone, and then fluidly transitions to pursuit as the quarterback scrambles. McRae makes the play in the open field.
Another intriguing aspect of McRae’s game, and his ability to play in space, is how he sees the field. Instincts are at a premium at linebacker, and McRae seems to have a very natural feel for the game.
Again, we see McRae drop into coverage effortlessly and display a good understanding of his coverage responsibilities in a zone scheme. Sensing where the ball is going based on route recognition, McRae jumps the pass and then shows his athleticism in returning the pick for a touchdown.
The short-area burst from McRae on this play is special. Again, his instincts are on display as he quickly identifies where the ball is going, but then he has the physical tools and physicality to finish off the play.
McRae has the size, athleticism and instincts to contribute immediately at FSU. The Seminoles still are in search of one more linebacker in this class, but McRae is a really nice building block and has the ability to play inside or outside early in his career.
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