It is quite obvious that both Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney are some of the better linebackers that have played at this program in the last decade or two. They’ve had incredible careers since their freshman year with Shaq and Mike totaling 253 and 206 tackles.
It is hard to have a more successful collegiate career than these players, especially with the talent that they have played with through the years. They have led this unit since day one, and will defiantly be missed when the season comes to an end.
We as Canes fans are well aware of their talent and what they can do each week. However, does the rest of America know? Have they opened the eyes of scouts and GM’s throughout the league? They have the talent to make NFL rosters, but would really need to stand out from the rest if they want to become starters in the next level.
Personally, I see them being role players in the NFL, but they could definitely improve in multiple areas to change that. I would love to see them go early on the second day in the NFL Draft latest, but those players in that area stand out in all of their matchups every week.
Their performance against Florida:
Stats: Shaquille Quarterman - 57 snaps, 4 total tackles (3 solo)
Michael Pinckney - 46 snaps, 3 total tackles
In our game against Florida, I really expected more from Shaq Quarterman. He did a really good job attacking holes and and reading Feleipe Franks first read. As I rewatched his highlights, I was not impressed with his block shedding, pursuit on the ball carrier, and his pure tackling ability. For someone with his size and expectations, I was anticipating more consistency and more plays broken up. On a crucial fourth & 1, Franks had a QB power lead run with Lamical Perine as the lead blocker, and Shaq just simply got out powered and wasn't able to make a play on the runner. He must improve on being able to shed blockers, especially running backs.
With Michael Pinckney, I again would want more from the 4 year starter. He did a nice job blitzing on the interior line, and would push back some of the lineman to disrupt the pocket. On Perine’s receiving touchdown, he beat Pinckney to the inside, which gave Florida a 17-13 lead. Pinckney had a solid game and couldn't be as involved in each play due to him being on the outside, which limits how many encounters he can actually have. He made good tackles and was able to have some positive plays.
If the two linebackers had better games against the Gators, they could have easily improved their draft stock. They need to have some more flashy plays to catch the eyes of NFL teams. They can both deliver really big hits on opposing players, and can keep up with a lot of players on other teams. If they can improve on block shedding, pursuit, coverage, and improving on tackling, then they will easily see their names called by day two in April.
The two linebackers have the perfect opportunity to bounce back against North Carolina as they take on quarterback Sam Howell, who impressed in his first game. He showed that he has potential to be a successful QB, but I have no doubt our linebackers will give him a tough matchup as they bring pressure all game.
There is still plenty of time in their last season as Hurricanes to take the next step and become 1st Team All-ACC. If they manage to accomplish that goal, their chances of playing on Sundays will skyrocket. The rest of the schedule is in our favor for them to really finish strong and prove why they are so highly ranked in college football. I really hope to see 55 & 56 wear that turnover chain and be recognized for standout performances for the Hurricanes.