LEIGHTON McCARTHY | Florida Atlantic | OB | #13 | rSr | 6016 | 223 | Apopka, FL | Wekiva HS | 05.27.96
Appearing in 50 games for the Owls, McCarthy was asked to make the switch from defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker in 2020. He racked up nine sacks as a senior, raising his career total to 20. McCarthy possesses intriguing length and violent hands, which he uses to take on blocks. He is capable of stacking and shedding, using a push-pull and a stab-club move. He has flexible ankles allowing him to bend the corner. Being unable to dip his shoulder gives tackles a large enough surface area to punch and redirect him when he is trying to bend around. A reliable tackler, he shows the strength to stop the momentum of ball-carriers and wraps up thanks to his length. McCarthy is not overly dynamic in zone, but gains enough depth and possesses the length to crowd throwing lanes from underneath zones, allowing him to be dropped into coverage occasionally. He is an average athlete, who is unable to get sideline-to-sideline as his range is limited. In man coverage, he lacks the athleticism to stick with opponents. McCarthy projects as a backup 3-4 outside linebacker or off-ball linebacker convert who can contribute on special teams and have run defending ability when on the field.
Raised outside of Orlando, Florida. Two-star recruit according to 247Sports. Earned his degree in General Studies. Played in two games and redshirted. Played in 14 games as a freshman. Played in 12 games as a sophomore. Played in 14 games as a junior. Played in eight games as a senior. Parents aren’t married. Only played two years of high school football and was focused on basketball. Was recruited into football by coach Kenard Lang who played in the NFL for 10 seasons.
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